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North Dakota Is Booming But Not Legendary


North Dakota is experiencing an oil boom that some say is equivalent to the California Gold Rush of 1849. Workers from all across the country are traveling to North Dakota for a job and  a piece of the action. North Dakota has a vast, untapped oil reserve only reachable by the practice of fracking.

North Dakota pumps out around 560,000 barrels of oil a day. At $82 a barrel, that’s nearly $45 million a day.

With all that taxable cash one might expect the state might attempt to do a make over of its current sleepy, fly over country persona.

North Dakota pitches itself as legendary. Legends are a non historical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical. North Dakota’s “Legendary” positioning feels old and like it’s best days are behind it. Doesn’t sound much like a state where there’s an oil rush going on, where the jobless rate is 3.1% (April 2012) and where pay rates are three times minimum wage – at Subway!

It’s high time for the mucky mucks at the North Dakota state house and tourism departments to contemporize their positioning before it naturally occurs – which may not be so good.

Why not be self-depreciating and poke a little fun at itself? I love the idea creating a state’s persona around its natural perceptions. The “Land Carpet”, shown above from Florian Pucher, is a cheeky metaphor for North Dakota’s fly over status. Embrace, leverage it and make the most of it. That’s how the rest of the country will remember North Dakota.

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