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Study Says Reno is Great, But Does It Matter? (Subscriber Content)

By John Seelmeyer

Most folks in the Reno-Sparks area feel a warm glow when a national organization honors the region as one of the nation’s best. After all, it says something special about us that we would choose to live in such a wonderful place, doesn’t it?

Just the other day, for instance, Reno was recognized as the 6th Best Small City in America by Resonance Consultancy, a Los Angeles company that works with economic development and tourism agencies.

But how much good do these national rankings actually provide to the effort to create a stronger economy in the Reno area?

Some, but not necessarily a lot, says a Reno marketing professional who devoted the last decade to re-branding the region in the minds of people across the United States.

Abbi Whitaker of The Abbi Agency says some of the rankings are created solely as public-relations tools by companies eager to position themselves as experts.

“Some of these are credible, but some aren’t,” Whitaker says. “I think we need to be very cautious about putting too much weight behind reports such as this unless they come from a valid third-party analytics firm like Gartner or Forrester or a credible publication such as Forbes.”

Sometimes, the rankings can provide a boost to a specific local initiative.  The study by Resonance Consultancy, for instance, headlined the attractions of Northern Nevada to young workers.

That supports the pitch that’s being made by the Economic Development Authority as it recruits talent in the Bay Area and elsewhere, and EDAWN quickly highlighted the study’s findings in an update to its members.

The Resonance Consultancy study gave high marks to Reno’s location (noting it ranks No. 2 for Instagram hashtags among small cities), its weather and its nightlife.