World Business Chicago CEO, Central City COVID recovery; save the dates
World Business Chicago CEO, Central City COVID recovery; save the dates
CCAC eNews
May 2020
Marketing Chicago as a Global Destination 
CCAC would like to thank Michael Fassnacht, President and CEO of World Business Chicago and Chief Marketing Officer for the City of Chicago, for speaking at the May membership meeting where he discussed marketing Chicago as a global destination.  His remarks centered on making Chicagoans the focus of a worldwide marketing campaign and encouraging CCAC members to partner with World Business Chicago to celebrate the good news coming out of their companies.
Fassnacht elaborated on how the unique neighborhoods of the City make it interesting to market but also present a challenge in developing a common theme since each neighborhood is so different.”  However, he explained the ultimate brand truth and opportunity from a marketing perspective is Chicago is the most diverse City in the world.  At the same time, Fassnacht commented it is also unfortunately one of the most segregated – an issue Fassnacht mentioned we can’t ignore to build truly authentic story telling about our city.  
The day after speaking to CCAC, World Business Chicago and Mayor Lightfoot announced Michael Fassnacht would become the permanent President and CEO of World Business Chicago, after serving as Interim since January 2021, and Chief Marketing Officer for the City of Chicago for two years.
He said the biggest audience for marketing the City is actually Chicagoans, and said, “We have neglected to make the residents the biggest brand ambassadors for Chicago.  If we can’t win over the residents, we can’t have a strong brand.”  Other audiences are the City’s business community, the tourism and convention industry, and talent from all over the world.  He said, “Talent is a huge opportunity for Chicago right now.” Speaking of residents that left Chicago he said, “Now is the perfect time [for them] to come home and build their families, their careers, and their companies in Chicago.” 
Fassnacht discussed how one of his goals is to better coordinate the fractured marketing campaigns of the various institutions and organizations that work to attract people and companies to Chicago, as well as the cultural institutions that provide exciting destinations for visitors and potential Chicagoans to enjoy.  
Fassnacht said he is not a big fan of large and expensive advertising campaigns, but instead relies on a constant stream of smart marketing efforts that include strategic announcements and partnering with the Mayor’s Office to use social media to the City’s advantage.  Changing the national narrative about Chicago is also difficult, most notably because local media is reluctant to focus on good news and celebrate the many amazing success stories that occur every day in Chicago.  National media, on the other hand, is more open to look at Chicago with a new perspective. However, most people now receive their news through social media, which explains the focus on using social media in a targeted manner.  Fassnacht explained how last year the Mayor had approximately 100,000 followers but now has over 1 million, which provides a direct line to Chicagoans and allows for direct messaging to core constituents.  He said, “When something happens good or bad, we have a 24-hour opportunity to communicate directly with our most critical audiences.”  
Speaking directly about recovering from the pandemic, Fassnacht said the recovery efforts have included working a lot with employers and Chicago’s transportation agencies to let workers know it is safe to come back to the Central City.  Fassnacht was proud of including all 77 neighborhoods in its outreach, both with a focus on neighborhoods and embracing the City’s diversity.  He said, “It isn’t just about bringing downtown back, we have to have an inclusive and equitable recovery….We are the strongest when we show our diversity.”  He explained how a significant focus of this work has been thinking about the future of global cities, and the need to reinvent urban spaces. 
In response to a question, Fassnacht also revealed what it is like working for Mayor Lightfoot and said, “I’m a huge fan of her…She has an inner northstar for what is the right thing to do for the City that is unshakable.”  He also complimented her relentless work ethic and her ability to know when she needs more information to make decisions.  
Fassnacht also thanked CCAC for all its work making Chicago a better city. He also asked members to celebrate good news coming out of their companies and to partner with World Business Chicago and the Mayor’s Office to draw attention to such good announcements.  He also challenged members to help address the economic inequality in the City’s 77 neighborhoods and said, “We will not build an amazing global city without solving the economic challenges and disenfranchisements on the south and west side.  We pay a price for that financially for that as well.  We have crime rates that cost us money.  We will not build the best Chicago across the whole city if we do not address it.”  He also encouraged business leaders to open businesses in the neighborhoods because it is both a good business decision, as well as a benefit to the neighborhood and the City at large.  
He closed with a comment many CCAC members can identify with and said, “I believe you cannot be a successful business leader without being a civic leader; you cannot be a civic leader without understanding businesses and the correlation to jobs and tax income to create an amazing space.  I’m very happy that I am able to serve this city, and the City of Chicago has been great to me and my family.”  
The CCAC Burnham Council is kicking off the summer with a return to downtown happy hour on Thursday, June 17th at Recess at City Hall located at 838 W. Kinzie St. from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This will be a small group gathering to toast the reopening of the Central City and discuss 2021 Burnham Council initiatives.
The 8th Annual Summit on Regional Competitiveness will be held Monday, October 18, 2021 to Friday, October 22, 2021.  This year's theme will be Regional Recovery, and will focus on the long-term plans for the Tri-State Region after the COVID-19 pandemic.  More information will be released via e-mail in the coming weeks.
Special CCAC Member Meeting:  Tuesday, June 8, 2021 
As many CCAC members know, CCAC has been working in partnership with the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) on a number of issues, most notably a recovery plan from the pandemic for the Central City and the Mayor's INVEST South/West initiative.  
For the June CCAC membership meeting, CCAC members and officials from DPD will be reviewing these most recent efforts, and explore additional partnerships between the City of Chicago and CCAC.
CCAC June Membership Meeting
Strengthening the Relationship between City Government and CCAC
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. 
Webinar via Zoom
Clint W. Sabin at 
Please Participate:  Chicago Loop Alliance Monthly Survey
Recently Michael Edwards, President and CEO, Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA), was a guest speaker on the CCAC/Alliance webinar series.  As a follow up, CCAC members have been invited to participate in CLA's monthly survey tracking operating plans for businesses located in the downtown area.  Please click here to fill out the May survey. Participants will also be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to a Loop area restaurant. 
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