SACAC 2013: Why your identity is like authentic Memphis food

The long and crowded waits for the slow, grand elevators at the Peabody may not be on everyone’s list of favorites from SACAC 2013 in Memphis, but I kind of enjoyed them. For somebody like me, who will talk to just about anybody about just about anything, they provided some interesting opportunities for impromptu conversations.
Not surprisingly, the elevator subject that came up most was food. Authentic Memphis food. People wanted to know where they could get the genuine Memphis experience. Not a tourist’s version. The real thing. The suggestions I heard the most were places like Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous Ribs and Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken.
Here’s the thing…these are not pretty places. Nobody was looking for a “pretty” place to eat in Memphis. They wanted a “real” flavor of this town. I think there’s a valuable lesson in this. Something like “how big or fast or new you are isn’t always as important to people as how real you are”, especially if you’ve managed to cultivate a history and a culture that others want to experience.
I think we can all learn something from a town like Memphis. We should all be asking…what is our sound? What is our flavor? What have we given birth to? What are our traditions? I think these are questions worth asking on the way to promoting the real “us.” Because that’s how you attract the people that will love the “real” you.
Thinking about it, all of this reminds me of our “no tourist” campaign for Wofford.

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