History of The Story Project


The genesis for the discussion of a master narrative for the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region came from a joint Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Leadership Exchange trip to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2007. Ann Caulkins, publisher of The Charlotte Observer, pointed out that all the newspapers where she had worked viewed their respective communities through a “master narrative” lens. By approaching their work through this lens, these communities communicate their stories more effectively and build stronger identities

Our region’s hosting of the World Choir Games in 2012 represented a singular opportunity to accelerate the master narrative work and to utilize and test the outcomes in both promotion of attendance at the games and positioning of our region in media coverage. The eyes of the world were on our region as thousands of competitors—and their families and friends—converged in Cincinnati for one of the biggest cultural events our region has ever experienced. 

The early ideation process for the master narrative was facilitated through Procter & Gamble’s clay street project, which helps develop breakthrough ideas through adept facilitation and use of inventive tools that drive innovation. Throughout the creative process, we have engaged senior civic leadership, corporate leaders, members of the creative community, the regional tourism network and convention bureaus, the constituents of Agenda 360 and Vision 2015, young professionals, and government leaders in workshops and stakeholder meetings. The themes have been tested for authenticity through formal focus group testing, and most recently, The Story Project was featured as a pilot challenge for Open City, an online platform for public engagement

The Story Project will never reach a point of completion. The master narrative is a living document, evolving with the region over time. The online tool-kit serves as both a resource to the “translators” who will use these materials in their work and as an avenue for building out our story. Everyone is encouraged to submit interpretations of the themes, presentations and materials that incorporate information from the master narrative, additional proof points, images, videos, and audio clips.


Original work funded in part by:


Steering Committee:
African American Chamber of Commerce
Agenda 360
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport 
Cincinnati Museum Center 
Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau 
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber 
Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network 
Downtown Cincinnati Inc. 
Greater Cincinnati Foundation 
The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation 
Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA 
Infintech, Inc. 
Kolar Design 
Leadership Cincinnati 
Macy's 
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce 
Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau
Soapbox Media 
United Way of Greater Cincinnati
Vision 2015