While GE’s recent announcement to move their Fairfield, CT, headquarters to Boston doesn’t affect many jobs in the grand scheme of things, it is another in a series of “hits” to Connecticut’s brand image. There was a time when CT was the place to be if you were a Fortune 500 company and there were various reasons for that – now it seems, it is clearly the place NOT to be. And as long as the state continues on the path it is on, there is no turning that reasoning around.

I’d like to see Connecticut think about itself as a brand. Consider that for any American, there are 50 choices of states to live in.  So, why would anyone choose Connecticut?  In fact, CT has been a net loser of citizens to other states (and not all warm weather climes) in recent years. Connecticut’s leaders should think about the state like any good marketer would and figure out how it can differentiate itself from other states – especially those neighboring. Then, once that point of difference goal is identified, share that vision and execute against it.

How about setting a goal for having the best education system among all 50 states? What does that mean? What would that take? And most importantly, what would that mean for the future of our children and all residents of the state? Other grand visions can be set as goals that might also provide significant payoffs down the road. The important thing is for our leaders to set such a vision, understand the long-term payoff from our collective investment, and then work as a community to execute.

Government leaders – especially in Connecticut where the brand is diminishing quickly – need to take a page from the business playbook and build a competitive brand that attracts and retains “customers”.