Edge city looking at Houston, TX metro.

Smaller City Beside a Major Metro? Here’s How to Differentiate.

You are a small-to-medium sized community on the outskirts of a major metro. You possess your own culture, economy and identity, but naturally, are also tied to and benefit from your adjacent big brother. At North Star, we describe this as being an “edge city.” As an edge city, how do you best differentiate, while still leveraging the reputation and resources nearby?

Differentiation and distinction are challenges most edge cities face. Without a unique value proposition and positioning, they risk being stuck in the shadow of the nearby metro area in perpetuity.

Like any other community, every edge city has an authentic difference. Before navigating how to co-market alongside a major metro, you must uncover the point of difference for your edge city, then bring that to life through a strategic positioning statement and story. That difference may very well align with or include characteristics about the adjacent metro, but we often find that edge cities are quite distinct. 

As a whole, edge cities often offer a more cost-effective and easier quality of life than their larger neighbor, while not sacrificing the opportunity to start or advance careers. They also provide a charm that the melting pot of a major metro likely won’t. Combine those benefits with the traditions and culture of the community, and a distinct identity exists. You just have to bring it to the surface.

Regarding how to leverage an edge city’s proximity to a major metro, there is certainly benefit to being just a quick drive to or from the big city. 

One, with the right message, you’re more likely to attract visitation from city residents or those traveling to the region. Smaller communities with more isolation face a steeper climb. 

And two, talent from the big city is right around the corner, making it easier to attract new residents. Residents already in the region don’t have to move across the country or start new to continue building their careers while achieving a lower cost of living and stronger quality of life.

So when building your brand identity as an edge city, focus on unlocking your authentic difference as a smaller community, but find ways to leverage your proximity to a major metro and why that’s beneficial to your residents and visitors.If you represent an edge city, we can help you find your identity and bring it to life, setting you on a path toward your preferred future. Let’s get started.