Goodbye Twin Cities: Minneapolis-St. Paul is the new metro identity

For marketing purposes, Minneapolis and St. Paul have decided to adopt a common trade name.

Allie Winter

Minneapolis and St. Paul are putting differences behind them to come together as part of a new repositioning plan, with a goal of changing perceptions of the Twin Cities and ditching that name.

As a marketing tactic, this new plan will pair the two cities, making them known as one: Minneapolis-St. Paul.

A couple years ago Meet Minneapolis, an official convention and visitors association, conducted research with a New York branding company to find out what visitors and locals think about the cities.

Karyn Gruenberg, Meet Minneapolis’s vice president of marketing, said the perceptions from “out-of-towners” were skewed.

“People think there’s nothing to do in Minneapolis-St. Paul,” she said. “They think it’s fly-over land.”

The results showed residents perceive the two cities as one and sparked the plan to reposition the two cities.

And the cities’ mayors are in full support. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman came to the Institute for Research in Marketing at the Carlson School of Management on Monday evening to share the research and initiative of this project.

“This is one of the most exciting metro areas in the country, but we don’t get the word out well enough because we don’t work together,” Rybak said in an interview. “It’s time to get over all that old-school rivalry between the cities.”

Gruenberg said the purpose is to change how people see the cities and make them a desirable place to live, work and visit.

The repositioning will take place through a marketing-communications campaign with three objectives. First on the table is working on the residents, educating the locals about how the “outside” world sees Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The second objective is to provide those outside a 500-mile radius of the cities with information about why it’s a great place to visit or relocate.

The third arm of the plan is to draw employees and keep them by developing a more diverse atmosphere in the corporate world.

Kathy Tunheim, board member at Meet Minneapolis and CEO of Tunheim Partners, Inc., knows this challenge is a tough one.

“We want to improve retention,” she said. “It’s hard to recruit people to come here because if they know anything about here, their perceptions are probably wrong.”

The project is in the first stage of informing residents about common views of the cities.

Rybak said the repositioning will ultimately benefit the city, letting people know what’s offered. He said he wants the cities to help one another bring people in and enjoy Minneapolis and St. Paul for what they can offer together.

“Minneapolis and St. Paul are not competing against each other – they’re competing together,” he said.