#ThinkReno is Thinking Ahead

By Heyden Enochson


Customer insight is a cornerstone in learning where your organization is currently, where it needs to be, and how you’ll win. The problem? Gathering it is a painstaking and difficult process.

It takes multiple inputs and a fair bit of data synthesis to gather the information you’ll need to make strategic decisions. Prepping for a recent facilitation, we were astounded with the approach the City of Reno took when gathering citizen insight.

Reno, who once relied heavily on gaming revenue, is undergoing a huge diversification in economy and culture. With Nevada’s attractive tax laws, the city has cultivated an attractive startup and technology culture that is beginning to blossom the economy. Tesla, Apple, and Switch are all building multi-billion dollar data and manufacturing centers with others to follow suit soon.

Additions like Tesla have citizens looking forward to Reno’s future, but the city council needed to systematically collect their input to help craft the City’s new vision. Insert the #ThinkReno campaign.

From May 2014 to March 2015, the City of Reno ran a multi-dimensional campaign to ask citizens what “I think Reno can be.”  They leveraged special events, social media, open forum meetings, and online survey tools to gather diverse input and opinions about the City’s future. Here’s why their approach was successful:

1)  Length of Collection Period – Because the City collected this information over an extended period of time, they were able to eliminate seasonal biases and influences.

2) Mediums to Collect Data – Leveraging different media inputs, particularly social media, allowed them to collect responses from a wide demographic of citizens.

3) Simple Question – A simple question allowed everyone to quickly understand what was being asked. It was direct, clear, and to the point.

Asking an open-ended question requires a lot of analysis and synthesis to provide usable input to develop Reno’s new vision. Their solution was both simple and genius. They gathered common phrases and arranged them in a word cloud based on their frequency to create a visual to guide their visioning exercise.

Java Printing

There’s no doubt this exercise required time and resources, but we applaud the City of Reno for using customer insight to help develop their strategy.

Heyden Enochson

Heyden works as OnStrategy’s Communications Manager, focusing on developing and executing effective customer and website communications. Heyden brings with him a design and marketing background in addition to developing integrated marketing communication plans.



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