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An open call for change. Change where it counts, in brands.

Don’t read this if you have a closed mind and can’t imagine a different future beyond tomorrow. You know who you are, this will make you cringe and we don’t need that on our conscience.

For the remaining, take a minute to consider that a city government and a business are fairly similar. They have income, expenses and they provide services to a specific audience. They employ people and should be governed by the same natural economics that exist for all organizations (for profit, government or not-for-profit).

Now consider the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) as two similar organizations. They have a fair amount of duplication, providing similar services, having similar roles, similar physical proximity, similar missions, etc. Yet, to this day they are separate operating organizations.

Yes. The suggestion here is a merger of cities and a merger of brands. Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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If you need examples, look to Budapest (Buda and Pest) and New York merging with Brooklyn. If you’re wondering why there are no other modern examples, welcome to my world of wonderment.

Now, before your head starts to move back and forth, this doesn’t mean we eliminate half the jobs. Though if you’ve been through a merger, there are efficiencies to be found in duplicate roles. It does mean someone has to figure out the brand strategy behind two merged brands. You could treat it like the two are still separate, but run them from one back office, creating the efficiencies of one government while still having two cities. Look to Byerly’s and Lunds as a great example of how this could be accomplished. Or merge them in under an existing brand name (Twin Cities) would also be a good option. The last two options would be a new name entirely, which would be an interesting challenge if we involved voters in the naming decision. Lastly some smerging of the two names (Minnstpauleapolis) which would certainly not be our suggestion.

Whatever the strategy, the savings would be tremendous. This isn’t savings to the organization, but rather savings to each citizen of these two great cities. If they were two businesses a merger would have occurred long ago.

 —Aaron Keller, Capsule