A group of creative, ambitious and talented Reno residents banded together more than a year ago to create a marketing campaign which would re-define Reno by telling the stories of local Reno residents.

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Despite a growing tech economy, a location minutes away from world-class skiing and summer recreation, and a newly redeveloped area along the Truckee River, Reno still seemed to end up as the butt of national jokes and at the bottom of many unenviable national lists.

The “Biggest Little City” movement, started and sustained on pure volunteer time by Reno residents passionate about their city, sought to redefine that image not with slick marketing slogans or big-dollar ad buys, but by simply giving Reno residents an opportunity to tell their stories.

Organizers ranging from small business owners to people in public service, media, social media, website development, public relations, and marketing and design met weekly for several months until ideas based around the “Big” and ”Little” facets of the longstanding “Biggest Little City” descriptor was formed.

All of the work on the campaign was volunteered, amounting to an estimated $2 million of design, web development, copy writing, and videography. The group firmly believed the movement needed to be authentic and realized that the community is the brand — so they relied on the community members for campaign fodder.

Business owners and community leaders like Mark Estee, owner of downtown restaurant Campo, and Norm Dianda, founder of Q&D Construction, have signed on to be ambassadors for the movement and have shared their stories on the movement’s website. More than 100 Reno residents have already logged on to biggestlittlecity.org to share their stories about why they live and work in Reno.

The image of Reno that has emerged from these stories is vastly different from the picture painted by the unflattering representation of Reno as seen in such television shows as “Reno 911,” a reality television parody. Residents tell of a great university, a tight-knit community, a growing culinary scene, a diverse and vibrant business environment, and
world-class skiing, hiking, mountain biking and golfing.

The movement has also been gathering support for businesses as well as residents. Soon after the movement launched, the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino announced a donation of $100,000 in cash and services to the effort.

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