Tuesday, July 31, 2007

As a brand, Oregon has ended up a tough sell

In his first term, Gov. Ted Kulongoski launched an ambitious plan to put Oregon on the world map, to brand it as the place where berries taste better, businesses thrive and sophisticated tourists come to play.

Three years later, the effort has fizzled after Brand Oregon officials failed to sell it to the Legislature.

Lawmakers refused to give Kulongoski's pet project any of the $1.6 million requested, saying that schools, colleges and construction were "more important, if you will, than expanding a label," said Sen. Kurt Schrader, D-Canby, who with Rep. Mary Nolan, D-Portland, led the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee. Read more here.

Officials put new Greeley brand to fire

Greeley City Manager Roy Otto may be the spitting image of how officials hope residents will adopt the city's new branding campaign.

During every city council meeting, Otto outlines what is great about Greeley and follows it up with the branding campaign tag line."It's what makes Greeley great from the ground up," Otto often says.

Almost five months into the two-year plan to implement the branding campaign to improve Greeley's image in Colorado and beyond, officials have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars putting the brand into action.

The Greeley Chamber of Commerce paid North Star Destinations $67,000 to create the new brand. Of that money, Greeley contributed $10,000. Read more here.

Farming the Field vs. Low Hanging Fruit

By Patrick McConahy, Whittaker Associates

There are basically two main ways in which economic development organizations can pursue leads. One way is to look for those few companies out there that we classify as “low hanging fruit”. These companies have plans to grow immediately and rapidly develop an area. The other way to pursue leads is by “farming the field”, casting your net wide and then slowly reeling them in. Valid arguments can be made for both approaches in terms of what way is the best, but at the end of the day you cannot focus on just one and forget about the other.

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the economic development industry over the past year is the growing need to find these “low hanging fruit” leads. Read more here.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Place Branding: Rochester, New York

I recently led the first phase of the effort to brand my hometown, Rochester, New York. I'd like to share my thoughts on this ongoing process.

Like it or not - we are branded. Whether intentionally managed or not, brands exist in the minds of people to whom they should matter. I most often hear the following associated with Rochester by people who don’t know the city: snow, Kodak, downsizing, economically struggling Upstate city, long winters. These are not the words or phrases most of us would want associated with Rochester at the top of people’s minds. Take snow for example. Snow is not so bad if you are Colorado or Utah. And, we don’t get nearly as much snow as Buffalo or Syracuse. And, it is great that Bristol Mountain is only a half hour away. But, there may be other associations that are more helpful.

In the online survey I conducted, the following most resonates with residents: “Small town feel, big city culture,” reflecting our plethora of museums, musical concerts, film festivals, etc. but also our (mostly) friendly residents, easy commutes, affordable housing, cozy neighborhoods, etc.

While we will likely never successfully compete with New York and Chicago and San Francisco, I believe we should be able to very successfully compete with Austin, TX, Portland, OR, Columbus, OH, etc. Read more here.

Prosperity doesn't come from jobs alone

For decades, the successful relocation of new businesses to the Roanoke region has been good news. Intense efforts to recruit companies have been led for almost 24 years by the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership -- the region's economic development marketing organization that is funded by the private and public sectors.

Results have been steady, with more than 13,400 new jobs and $1.2 billion in investment attracted by the partnership over that time. That's a very credible record, but is it enough to drive prosperity in the Roanoke region well into the 21st century? Read more here.