Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Branding Pensacola

Marketing strategy aims to make area standout in a crowd while improving its self image

Carl Wernicke

The Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce recently sponsored a series of public meetings to develop information that can be used to help develop a "brand" for the area.

"This may well be the most important initiative undertaken during my service to the chamber," said Evon Emerson, president and chief executive officer at the Pensacola Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. "From an economic perspective, it will help us recruit and retain quality businesses and talented individuals. From a community perspective, it will help us define who we are now and who we want to be in the future."

News Journal Opinion Editor Carl Wernicke sat down with Jane Birdwell, of BPM -- Birdwell Photography and Marketing, to talk about Pensacola and what branding is all about. Read the interview here.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Regional alliances help lure business

REGIONAL COOPERATION — multiple counties using collective muscle to land new businesses - is fast becoming the state's most touted development strategy.

It's mostly in the wake of the Toyota plant announced in February in north Mississippi. A three-county alliance worked together quietly for a year to land the $1.3 billion plant near Tupelo. Since then, calls for regional cooperation have echoed through the Capitol's chambers, Rotary Club podiums and county boardrooms.

Now the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, which was formerly known as the MetroJackson Chamber of Commerce, is on board and looking to raise $3 million from private companies to market an eight-county region. The chamber's marketing arm, Greater Jackson Alliance has promoted regionalism for a decade but private money is new ground.

Duane O'Neill, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said the fundraiser will help direct the efforts of regional economic development. The money will be used to grow and land call centers, logistics and warehousing businesses, biotech and automotive companies across Attala, Copiah, Hinds, Leake, Madison, Rankin, Simpson and Warren counties.

"The area has become recognized as one region. When we get inquiries, it is for a 50-mile radius or 100-mile radius from Jackson," O'Neill said. Read more here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

How Germany won the World Cup of Nation Branding

In a recent issue of South Africa's leading business daily, The Business Day, Internal Branding Expert Dr Nikolaus Eberl shares his insight on how Germany won the World Cup of Nation Branding When the final whistle is blown on July 11 2010, will the president of the world’s largest sports brand, Joseph Blatter, be able to reiterate his summary of the 2006 World Cup, that “This was the best World Cup of all time?”

What happened in Germany during the four weeks to July 9 2006 was a celebration of Brand Germany, with such overwhelming success that the latest Nation Brand index lists Germany as the second-most admired country brand, up from seventh place previously.

Apart from soccer, the 2006 World Cup transformed Brand Germany from the old image — effective and efficient, yet cold, unfriendly and, at times, bullying — to a new image: fun-loving, welcoming, modern and creative.

This did something that no politician had ever achieved — it imbued the nation with a sense of pride and common destiny. On the day after the final, Britain’s Times, not known for being pro-German, ran the headline: “Never mind the Finals, the true Winners are Germany!”

Barely two years before the World Cup, Germany was a very different place — a nation so plagued by self-doubt that it was diagnosed by its own president as entering “collective depression”. The German soccer team had crashed out of the first round of the European championship, the Bundesliga was riddled by match-fixing scandals, and xenophobia had gripped certain areas of eastern Germany such that politicians were advising people of colour against entering so-called “no-go zones”.

So how did Germany achieve such a dramatic turnaround in branding fortunes? Read more here.

Think local; Economic development depends largely on adding value to what's already being done

A consultant recommends Bruce and Grey counties encourage value-added enterprises, agri-tourism and local food systems.

In a report prepared for the Grey-Bruce Regional Economic Development Partnership, George Schrijver of WCM Consulting noted Chapman's Ice Cream in Markdale is the area's only major food processing plant.

He said traditional economic development strategies are unlikely to attract other major food processing plants because of distances and lack of transportation and stressed the importance of being realistic about what advantages the area has in its efforts to attract a large food processing plant.

"You better have a good case for it as opposed to a nice brochure that says we're a wonderful place to be why don't you come here," said Schrijver He compared the Grey Bruce area with eastern Ontario, which may be best positioned to attract large food processing plants because of its proximity to the transportation corridor - rail, road and seaboard - and easy access to U.S. markets. That region recently attracted a new Kellogg's plant.

Schrijver said Grey-Bruce has a number of strengths, such as a skilled labour force and infrastructure coupled with the potential to supply local consumers, retailers and specialty markets in the cities.

Schrijver recommends using the Bruce-Grey name to boost marketing - so long as there's consistent quality and quantity of product. He also listed 10 ways the region could promote value added products: Read more here.

Killeen in search of missing identity

"There's nothing diet about it."

"Always low prices."

"Keep it weird."

Slogans, taglines and catch phrases cause a person to instantly think of a product, business or in some cases a city. City leaders in Killeen hope by branding the community, it will become a recognizable city.

"You develop a brand for who you are, but also who you want to be and who you want to grow into and how you want the rest of the world to see you," said Connie Kuehl. "What little short thing is going to say, This is Killeen?"

Kuehl, director of the Civic and Conference Center, sits on a creative team charged with deciding on a branding slogan for Killeen.

Last year, North Star Destination Strategies came to Killeen to conduct surveys and interviews. The Nashville-based company surveyed Killeen residents and people who lived in nearby towns. The company also interviewed city leaders.

"The company has done a ton of research," Kuehl said. "They have a really nice snapshot of what Killeen is."

The full data from the research will not be made public until the city's brand is unveiled, but different aspects stood out to each creative team member. Kuehl said she was surprised by the buying power and expenditures per household. Read more here.

Looking for measurements to gauge area’s economic development

Here's a good article on developing metrics to measure economic performance.

Where do we want Decatur to go, and how do we get there from here?

Measurement is the key, explained Jeff S. Thompson, senior business adviser with the Office for Economic Development at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Thompson does not pretend to know how residents would describe the perfect Decatur, but he has information on how to measure progress once residents decide what Decatur should be.

Thompson would like to see Decatur — preferably in conjunction with communities in Morgan, Limestone and Madison counties — develop an economic performance index. The index would track numerous measurements that are significant to Decatur or the region. By tracking measurable data, it would be a springboard to strategies for improvement and a tool for measuring the success of those strategies.

Thompson pulled together some cursory data to explain the concept. Some of the data is disturbing. Decatur’s work force is shrinking as the elderly retire at a faster rate than new workers take jobs. Our population rate is flat while neighboring communities grow. Read more here.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Brand ambition

Kentucky has 'unbridled spirit,' Oregon says, 'We love dreamers.' What captures Wisconsin? Lawmakers want to know.

By STACY FORSTERsforster@journalsentinel.com
Posted: May 10, 2007

Madison - When it comes to marketing Wisconsin, what should the state play up? Its great outdoors? The emerging research economy? Its agricultural and manufacturing history?

Those are questions some state leaders want to begin to answer as a way to move Wisconsin past its current image of the cheesehead, beer and brats state that was home to "Laverne & Shirley" and "That '70s Show." They want to create a state brand to be an umbrella marketing tool for selling opportunities for economic development, tourism, educational and other things that contribute to quality of life in Wisconsin. Read more here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Online tool finds Mass. sites for biotech

BOSTON – An online site-selection tool for biotechnology companies looking to operate or expand in the Bay State was unveiled today at the 2007 BIO International Convention, which runs through Wednesday at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

The BioSites tool – an expansion of the existing www.MassachusettsSiteFinder.com – was jointly announced by the Mass. Department of Business Development, Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development, a nonprofit public-private partnership, and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.

“Finding a place to locate is one of the most important decisions of any business,” said Bob Coughlin, Mass. undersecretary for business development, “and we want to make it easy for biotech companies to find suitable space across the Commonwealth.”

The listing was created by a panel of experts from the architecture, construction, real estate services and biotechnology industries, which began by establishing minimum criteria a property must meet to be suitable for use by biotech companies.

In January, “MAED issued a call for buildings and land that met these criteria and that were available for development or occupancy,” said Susan Houston, the group’s executive director. “The committee then evaluated each property to determine its suitability for inclusion on the Web site.”

“We have over 2,900 acres of land and more than 4.6 million square feet of space throughout the Commonwealth that meet the minimum criteria,” she said, “and this is just a start.”
BioSites also displays the locations of nearby “teaching hospitals, colleges and universities and other life-science companies,” Houston said.

The initiative “is extremely useful for biotech companies,” said Mark Bamforth, senior vice president of corporate operations and pharmaceuticals at Genzyme.

“The new Web site will assist regionally based companies [to] grow within Massachusetts, as well as help those companies from out of state move into the region,” he said. “The properties listed … have the appropriate water, electricity, gas, floor loading and other conditions essential for biotechnology companies.”

Additional information about the Massachusetts SiteFinder and the new BioSites tool is available at www.MassachusettsSiteFinder.com.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

How to Brand a Country

While this article is directed towards tourism, a good brand for a city, region, state or country must address both tourism AND economic development audiences. So, the lessons here are applicable to the economic development field. Enjoy!

By Christian Caryl
Newsweek International

May 14-21, 2007 issue - Japan may be an export powerhouse, but it has a serious problem when it comes to importing tourists. Most travelers in the world, it seems, would rather go somewhere else. In 2005, the most recent year on record, Japanese visitors to other places outnumbered inbound tourists by 60 percent. So the government decided to launch a full-barreled advertising campaign to promote the delights of Japan to an international audience. There was just one problem: the approved slogan, "Yokoso Japan!"—a perfectly nice sentiment—requires translation before the people it's aimed at understand that "yokoso" means "welcome."

Creating an effective brand identity for a company is difficult. Doing the same for a country is practically impossible, and yet countries from Australia to Israel have mounted image-makeover campaigns in recent years. Israel has been promoting bikini-clad beachgoers and Tel Aviv nightlife, rather than its contested holy sites. Uganda prefers to advertise the fact that it is "gifted by nature" instead of plagued by a brutal past.

Simon Anholt, founder of the National Brands Index, argues that a country's "brand" is nothing less than the sum of its politics, culture, religious traditions, business practices, landscape features and natural resources. Building an image dependent on so many variables—and subject to the stereotypes of faraway audiences—is a long and painful process. "The reality is that most governments never really have an opportunity to think in a strategic kind of way, and branding offers a good opportunity to discuss this," says Anholt, whose clients include Botswana, Iceland, Bhutan and Latvia. The best way for a country to generate a good image, he argues, is not by conducting clever ad campaigns, but by implementing good policies. "The most important thing is to tell the truth," he says. Read more here.

Friday, May 04, 2007

‘Public relations a powerful tool'

The Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce and Visit Beloit recently retained the services of a public relations firm to assist with ongoing community marketing efforts. The goals of this arrangement are to:

1. Raise awareness of the positive things taking place in Greater Beloit.
2. Build credibility.
3. Position Greater Beloit for the next phase of growth while reinforcing current strengths.
4. Attract and retain businesses and employees.
5. Increase tourism to the area.

The Chamber and Visit Beloit are working with Primum, a full-service marketing communications firm. After less than two months of work, the firm has delivered several interview opportunities with trade and tourism publications, and has “set the table” for upcoming feature stories that fit into editorial schedules of the various target media. This effort is not meant to generate regurgitation of press releases written by the two agencies, but to develop stories of Beloit's success and to connect us with larger, regional and national audiences in a variety of formats. It is an ongoing effort.

This community has great stories to tell. We can't sit back and wait to be “discovered.” It doesn't work that way. The economic benefits of tourism, commercial real estate development, and new residential growth need to be aggressively pursued in what has become an extremely competitive community marketing environment.

We have great expectations for this project and are eager to share the results with the community.

Martha Mitchell
Executive Director
Visit Beloit

Yet Another Branding Initiative

Beaumont seeks comments to guide branding effort

The City of Beaumont has partnered with North Star Destination Strategies to develop a community “Brand” for marketing the city to visitors, residents and businesses in 2006 and beyond.

“We encourage Lamar University students, faculty and staff to provide their input on this city-wide effort,” said Stephanie Molina, marketing director for the city’s convention and visitors bureau.

Residents are encouraged to complete the “Vision Survey” to provide comments that will help guide the development of a new marketing strategy for the city. According to North Star CEO Don McEachern, the heart of Beaumont’s brand will be the city’s competitive differentiator -- in other words, what makes the city special so it can stand out in the marketplace. And one of the best places to find that figurative nugget of marketing gold is in the hearts and minds of those who call Beaumont home.

The Vision Survey has been carefully crafted to determine the city’s strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities. All residents are invited and encouraged to participate in this important community-wide initiative. See the rest of the story here or view the survey here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Stir an uproar over brand? Can do!

It may be a lime, says Maxine Nietz, of Carson City. Or it could be a green balloon. She stares down at the new regional business brand for Northern Nevada on the inside of a black pamphlet.
A green circle encloses the words "can do.""Is it a sun turned green?"

I'm sure this isn't the question the designers of the "Welcome to can do" brand wanted to hear.

The brand is part of a $400,000 effort headed by the Northern Nevada Development Authority and the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. The new name they're marketing for the area is Greater Reno-Tahoe.

I wonder if the Northern Nevada Development Authority will be changing its name?

The brand was released this week with much fanfare. They distributed a "branding kit" at the Tuesday unveiling in Reno that contained a temporary tattoo (Is it really that hip to brand yourself?) and a window sticker for your car.

With this brand, economic officials hope to attract skilled professionals and high-paying businesses to Northern Nevada, oops, Greater Reno-Tahoe."

And if you figure out what it is, (the green circle) what does it mean to the area?" asks Nietz, who runs a local event-planning business.

According to the creative director of R&R Partners, of Reno, the green circle enclosing the slogan "can do" represents unity.

It has created anything but that.

"I think they missed the boat on the concept," said local builder Bill Miles. He attended the Tuesday event, heard the spiel and wasn't impressed. Read more here.

When Community Brands Conflict: Sin City Image Repels Corporate Relocation

The marketing of sin that helps draw tourists to Las Vegas is an impediment in luring corporate headquarters to Southern Nevada, according to a white paper released by the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies.

The long-anticipated report drafted from a community roundtable in 2006 paints a pessimistic picture of Las Vegas' ability to recruit companies to Southern Nevada and diversify its economy beyond gaming.

In addition to the perception of Las Vegas as Sin City, soaring land costs, higher rents than other Western markets, a lack of affordable housing, a poorly educated workforce, weak school system, and a lack of cultural amenities make corporate recruitment a challenging task. The results were included in a report on office and industrial development framed by a panel of developers, planners, business owners and executives, government staffers and elected officials.

"Another difficulty stems from the idea of perception," the report said. "The kind of marketing that brings all tourists to Las Vegas - basically, sin - is exactly the kind of market that keeps corporate headquarters away." Read more here.