It's time to vote with your voice. Nathan Lane, deputy managing director of Golley Slater PR, calls on Brummies to speak up...
Like most other Yorkshiremen that leave God's Own County, I recently moved to the Midlands on missionary work. Along with the rest of the UK, I was aware of the big steps forward Birmingham has taken in its regeneration but was still surprised by the level of development taking place across the city.
Having been closely involved with the city marketing campaigns for Leeds and Bradford I wasn't surprised to see Birmingham held up as an example of good practice and often the model upon which other city marketing efforts are built.
A lot of hard work has been done by various public and private organisations across the city over the last decade and Birmingham is rightly held up as one of the UK's regeneration and city marketing success stories.
From the outside it seemed that very early on the city had a clear picture of where it was going, what it had to offer and who it needed to speak to.
Say the word Birmingham and all the right buzz words spring to mind.
But within the few months I have been in Birmingham I am surprised by some of negativity aimed at the regeneration effort, which may affect the positive image of Birmingham across the rest of the country.
While it is our duty to question our civic leaders and challenge with constructive criticism, a quick review of this publication's website will highlight some of the issues raised.
Birmingham has come a long way and has ambitious plans for the future.
City regeneration plans need to be judged in their entirety and over decades, not by individual projects.
An important part of this development is attracting both investment and talented people so essential to keep the city moving forward.
How the city is perceived both nationally and internationally is vital to this task and a myriad of initiatives are under way to support this.
A lot of resources are directed to promoting the city through advertising, events such as the Cannes commercial property conference MIPIM as well as PR.
But the most powerful type of marketing a city can employ is the vocal support of the people that live, work and study here. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of marketing and Birmingham has potentially over 900,000 advocates to spread the good word about the city.
If we can't believe in the city's future how can we expect people to choose to live and work here or invest the large sums required to deliver the ambitious plans for Birmingham?
By all means ask questions of those driving the city's regeneration but let's be proud of a great city and tell people about it.