Saturday, November 24, 2007

Officials: EDC working hard to bring jobs

Although Stanley Furniture’s announcement Wednesday that it will cut 250 jobs here is a serious loss, the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) is doing everything in its power to bring jobs to the area, officials said.

“Your heart goes out to these people that are losing their jobs,” said Mark Heath, president and CEO of the EDC. “It’s sort of hollow to say we’re doing everything we can to bring new jobs, but we are.”

“It’s hard to be patient,” he added, “but that’s what it takes. We didn’t get here overnight, and we’re not going to turn this around overnight.”

A $2.7 million shell building recently dedicated at the Patriot Centre industrial park and Henry County’s acquisition of two properties for new industry put the area in the right position for growth, Heath said.

Those things have “opened up the door to a lot of new people looking at us and considering us,” he said. “How many of those will turn into real prospects, only time will tell.”

Heath declined to say whether the EDC has any “real prospects” now. However, he said officials are not waiting for jobs to come to them. More here.

One Year Later - Durham's Overarching Brand is a Success

DURHAM, N.C. – Assessment, one year after its launch, indicates the overarching brand for Durham is working. The brand is already adopted in more than 250 ways by local organizations and companies, and hundreds more by the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), Durham’s marketing agency. The embrace has also been ratified by scientific surveys of local residents and external audiences nationwide.

“When you’ve articulated a successful community brand, it strikes people not like a lightning bolt, but rather like an Aha! – this really fits,” said Shelly Green, Chief Operating Officer of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Three years ago, DCVB was asked by other messenger organizations to explore the possibility of an overarching brand. Only one year after its launch, it’s getting good traction.”

Successful overarching brands for communities are rare and there was concern it wouldn’t be possible to overcome the fragmentation common in a community as eclectic and diverse as Durham. After all, to be overarching, the Durham brand had to encompass everything from Research Triangle Park to Duke University, from Downtown to NCCU, from sports and performing arts to festivals, history, research labs and everything in between.

The purpose of an overarching brand is to make all messenger organizations more consistent. At their essence, community brands go far beyond logos and tag lines to drill down into the values and experiences core to the community’s personality. A major hurdle is overcoming the simplistic notion that brands are logos or taglines. More here.

Why the Atlanta brand matters


Cities are the most important and recognizable brands in the world. More than consumer brands, states, provinces and even countries, cities dominate the global mindshare of brands. You may want to go to France, but Paris is the destination. No one travels to New York State, it's NYC. And so on.

We live in a city-region, "Atlanta," that is a "giga-brand." The Atlanta brand has been etched into the cellular membranes of billions of people. Atlanta is not just the name of a city; it is a biological plaque holder in the brains of the most important people in the world – economic, political and religious – and it is associated with powerful images, ideals and symbols. It is an economic brand of optimism and hope, with a social foundation for inclusion, tolerance and human rights. Atlanta is one of a few cities that dominate in this category.

For this reason, the Atlanta brand is the most important nonpeople asset in our state. It is pure gold, Olympic and otherwise. Competitor cities like Dallas, Richmond, Va., and even Miami would die to have the reach and depth of the Atlanta brand. They understand brand creation is painfully slow, expensive and illusive.

The great opportunity for Georgia is to leverage the Atlanta brand to accelerate economic growth, especially global expansion. Many of our leading corporations – UPS, Coca-Cola, Delta and Home Depot – are creating their growth and profits from international expansion. They are top global brands. When the value of these brands is associated with the value of the Atlanta brand, everyone wins. More here.

MN Governor unveils economic development strategy

BROWNSDALE - Gov. Tim Pawlenty picked the perfect place to announce a new program to stimulate rural economic development Monday: Akkerman Manufacturing Inc.

The initiative - Strategic Entrepreneurial Economic Development (SEED) - is designed to help strengthen communities and expand the small business base throughout Minnesota.

“Investing in small business will bring lasting value and economic growth to our entire state and especially rural communities that need it most,” Pawlenty said. “Companies with fewer than 100 employees account for 97 percent of the state's businesses and generate most new jobs.”

“SEED will help new business, existing companies and rural communities by providing a wide variety of economic development tools that can be matched to each situation,” Pawlenty said. More here.

Group hopes to put brand on area's recruiting effort

A consortium of Brown County businesses and agencies has launched a new effort to come up with an "authentic brand" for the Green Bay area with the hopes of attracting additional business by showing the region has more to offer than cold weather and football.

The effort is meant to attract and retain businesses in the area, bring in additional tourism and attract young professionals and skilled workers to the community, said Donsia Strong Hill, co-chair for the Greater Green Bay Branding Initiative.

"Recruitment is a big part of this because people don't really know who we are," she said after a news conference Tuesday.

The result of the branding efforts is expected to launch in March, said Michael Hildebrand, group co-chair. The group is working to raise $1 million over two years to cover the initial costs of the branding effort. More here.

Grand Rapids area is well into its ‘branding’ mission

GRAND RAPIDS— Competing on a statewide, national, perhaps even global playing field is prompting officials in this West Iron Range community to seek an edge.

Grand Rapids and its economic development and business leaders want the city and surrounding community identified as a great place to visit and more importantly, a great place for economic investment. To that end, the city has enlisted the help of a professional firm to develop a Grand Rapids “brand.”

The branding project is being developed by Nashville, TN-based North Star Destination Strategies, a firm dedicated to branding, strategic planning and research services. North Star Destinations’ clients include 80 communities nationwide, according to its Web site. More here.

Missouri CORE Aims to Foster Area Economic Development

COLUMBIA, MO (2007-10-30) Twelve mid-Missouri counties have announced a cooperative partnership to boost economic growth within the region. The partnership is called Missouri CORE, which stands for Connecting Our Regional Economy. Missouri CORE wants to raise money to attract more business into the region.

Columbia Chamber of Commerce chairman Marty Siddall says things are moving toward a broader regional effort instead of focusing on individual communities."

The whole model has changed and clearly economies are not defined by county lines."

Sidall says businesses that may not be a good fit for a particular community may be better off somewhere else.

Sidall says Missouri-CORE hopes to raise $200,000 to cover the cost of a staff person as well as marketing materials focused on the region.

Towns use marketing to create, promote identity

Village President Dave Krienke had an identity crisis last month.

Walking the trade show floor of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago, watching hometown boosters from dozens of cities and villages extol the virtues of their little pieces of the state to big-name retailers, Krienke realized something about Roscoe.

No one really knew where it was. They knew Machesney Park, Rockford and even South Beloit.

Roscoe wasn’t on the radar.

Krienke’s dilemma is one faced by suburbs and exurbs, big towns and small cities all over the state, said Larry Frang of the Illinois Municipal League. It’s such a problem that it’s given birth to a cottage industry of experts, consultants and book authors who are paid to tell people the best way to market their town to the world. “The question is ‘How do I make my town of 8,000 people that’s connected to two expressways different from every other town of 8,000 people that’s connected to two expressways?’” Frang said. More here.

Grand Blanc Twp. seeks to develop "knowledge economy"

GRAND BLANC TWP. -- Township officials are aiming to help move the region from a nearly obsolete manufacturing economy to a "knowledge economy" by persuading high-tech companies to set up shop in the township.

A proposed "technology village area" was at the heart of a four-hour symposium Wednesday at Genesys Conference Center that drew more than 200 stakeholders -- residents, business leaders, government officials and developers.

"We have one goal: to bring our kids back home," said Keith Edwards, the township's community development director and symposium organizer. "We send them off to college and they don't come back." More here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jobs Now! outpacing goals, report shows

With four years of work under its tool belt, a regional economic development project is on track to meet its goals.

Jobs Now! is a joint project of the East Tennessee Economic Development Agency, the Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership, the Oak Ridge Economic Partnership and other public and private entities. The program’s aim is to boost jobs and wages and generate new investment in the metropolitan Knoxville region.

Last month, the program’s 2006 annual report was released, and the report card shows that Jobs Now! is outpacing its original goals.

Through the first four years of the program, a net total of 28,909 new jobs have been created, exceeding the goal of 26,640 jobs. Two other benchmarks have also been surpassed, as the region has tallied announced nonresidential capital investments worth nearly $2.3 billion and seen earnings per job of $39,252 in 2005. More here.

The ‘Nation Brand’ Marketplace

The term "nation" in this article title might be considered interchangeable with "city", "county", "region" or "state".

National public-relations campaigns typically raise eyebrows. The whole idea of a country advertising itself evokes propaganda—and history’s most notable propaganda efforts, in Stalin’s Soviet Union, for instance, or Nazi Germany, carry dark connotations. Yet just in the last ten years, an industry has emerged to help countries better tailor their image. As a new Backgrounder outlines, “nation branding” has established itself as a hip new field, both in academia and consulting.

It’s no mystery why countries find the idea compelling. Public-relations concerns loom over some of the world’s geopolitical heavyweights—and the stakes include economic prowess and diplomatic power, not just tourism. “Brand China,” for instance, finds itself increasingly threatened (BBC) following a flurry of scandals over dangerous lapses in the quality control of Chinese exports. The United States, too, is besieged with bad press. Recent polling data from the Pew Research Center shows global perceptions of the United States at a nadir in many parts of the world, particularly among Arabs and Muslims, but also in Europe and Latin America. These numbers represent a stunning shift from the years between 1989 and 2001, when the world’s views of the United States, even in Islamic states, were overwhelmingly positive.

Given these kinds of concerns, the idea of image consulting is finding new traction, and a phalanx of consultants stands ready to advise any country that will cough up the fees. But does nation branding actually work? And, perhaps more importantly, is its rise a good thing? Simon Anholt, an expert on nation branding, says in an interview that the brand-consulting phenomenon is “potentially a very dangerous thing.” He notes that countries can easily get the idea that their bad policy can be whitewashed with good public relations—an idea he staunchly rejects. Furthermore, Anholt says sophisticated consultancies often find “rather easy victims” in countries hoping for a quick fix. More here.

State seeks to sum up Wisconsin

Using just a few words, describe Wisconsin, and explain why it's a good place for vacationers as well as business operators, university students, and any other subset of people state officials might hope to attract.

State tourism officials are trying to create a "brand" for Wisconsin - a way to convey, in just a few words, how Wisconsin is different from other states. The official state brand would be used to attract vacationers, but also could help draw businesses as well. What are your suggestions for Wisconsin's brand?

That's the job facing the state Department of Tourism, which has begun an effort to create a "brand" for Wisconsin.

A brand is bigger than just the tagline from the latest tourism ads. Currently, in Wisconsin, that would be "Life's So Good."

The idea is to "identify that single point of difference that Wisconsin has over other competing destinations," and then create a brand that reflects that point, said Tourism Secretary Kelli Trumble.

Tourism is a major industry in Wisconsin, with travelers spending an estimated $12.97 billion in 2006. That's according to an annual Tourism Department study that measures spending by vacationers and business travelers on hotel rooms, meals, gasoline and other items.

But a state brand should be broad enough to sell Wisconsin for a variety of purposes, Trumble said.

"Yes, it's about vacationing," said Trumble, a former executive director of Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau, who later opened Sundara Inn & Spa, in Wisconsin Dells.

But it's also about "people wanting to live in Wisconsin, go to school in Wisconsin, and bring their business to Wisconsin," said Trumble, who was appointed tourism secretary in February by Gov. Jim Doyle. More here.

Attracting companies not what it used to be

LONGMONT — For John Cody, working to attract companies to Longmont is a never-ending battle to keep up with the changing times.

“Two things primarily are different today: It’s more complex, and it’s more competitive,” said Cody, president and CEO of the Longmont Area Economic Council.

Longmont competes with the rest of the world in trying to attract companies. But domestically, Cody says, Longmont has an advantage that sets the city and region apart.

The LAEC is one of nine partners with the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. that promotes economic development regionally.

About 20 years ago, the partners signed a formal agreement that they would not poach businesses from one another and would not disparage one another when talking to companies. More here.

Site selection has evolved into a sweet science

LONGMONT — Gone are the days when an executive for a growing company places a call to a local chamber of commerce and asks for a community’s demographics and real estate statistics. A global economy and the advent of the Internet have changed the way expanding business find a place to build or relocate.

And it’s changed the way people such as Don Schjeldahl, a site-selection consultant for 25 years with Cleveland-based The Austin Co., operate.

"In a town like Longmont ... they have to understand the competition is not down the road," said Don Schjeldahl with Cleveland-based The Austin Co. "It might be Shanghai, or what’s happening in St. Louis, or somewhere else."

Companies’ moves today often involve international searches, said Bob Ady, a 30-year site-selection veteran and owner of Chicago-based Ady Inter national Co.

"You might be looking at places in four different countries," he said.

Both men agree that it’s a much different world than when they first got into the business. More here.

Baltimore tries to break free of Rust Belt image

Baltimore left the Rust Belt behind years ago, but local economic development marketers think the metro area has yet to shed the reputation of a struggling manufacturing hub.

They want to get out-of-town companies and locals to think of the Baltimore region as an equal of affluent Seattle, Denver and San Diego, rather than besieged Cleveland and Detroit, its historical peers.

The Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, a nonprofit partnership between government and business to encourage economic growth, released a "progress report" last night that makes the argument by marshaling facts about changes in the Baltimore area since the start of the decade. More here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Brand America

In today’s hyper-competitive world, countries are becoming important brands in terms of tourism and business, and it doesn’t take too many trips out in the world to sense that Brand America is in trouble.

If you’re interested in the numbers, the Pew Research people have them all. The basic message: America’s image is in a dramatic decline just about everywhere. This is not a good thing in a world being driven by the global economy. Whether you’re Boeing, Apple Computer, General Electric or Ford Motor, it’s not helpful when people dislike the country of origin. It gives your global competitors an emotional edge.

No one appreciates this more than Brand America’s sales force, namely the State Department.

Several years ago, I was asked by them to develop a marketing program to help diplomatic officers better sell America, its products and its efforts to the world community. Obviously, it’s something that is desperately needed. The only concept attached to the U.S. is a terrible one: “The world’s last superpower.” All this expression does is to portray us as the world’s bully. And some of the administration’s language and policies only re-enforced this perception. In China, for example, the media often refers to America as the global police.

Coming up with a better marketing concept was fairly simple. Go to the world community with a program that offered more benefits, not one with threats. The strategy was to have President George W. Bush say to the world that we are shifting from self-vision to a new world vision simply expressed as: “Helping the world to be a safer, freer and more prosperous place.” That’s what everyone wants, and we can help deliver those benefits. Here’s a simple, but wise, observation as to why this approach should work. It’s from The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as he wrote, “If you convey to people that you want them to succeed, they will take criticism. If you convey that you hold them in contempt, they won’t listen to you.” More here.

The Difference Between Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Personal Branding

Found this great article at Quick Sprout on the difference between PR, Branding, Marketing and Advertising:

A few months ago on Ads of the World and Pronet Advertising, the difference between marketing, PR, advertising, and branding was discussed through pictures. These illustrations were also used at the International Economic Development Council Annual Summit in Phoenix in a presentation by Development Counsellors Inc.

marketing pr advertising personal branding

If you take a close look at the pictures from a personal branding perspective you’ll notice that you definitely don’t want to market yourself as well as advertise yourself. Doing these two things makes you seem a bit desperate. Telling a woman that you are a great lover usually doesn’t mean much because it is coming out of your mouth. And if you go one step further by repeating that you are a great lover (advertising), you can definitely count on the woman not believing you. But on the other hand if a woman tells another woman that you are a great lover or if a woman tells you that “I hear you are a great lover” chances are you are going to get laid.

If you want to brand yourself you need to understand that it is much more effective when other people talk about you in a positive fashion compared to self-promotion.

Hopefully the picture helped!

Sparta refreshes Web presence with new branding effort

SPARTA -- Sparta has a new tool to help link the past and future -- a revamped interactive Web site unveiled this week by Mayor Tommy Pedigo.

The launch coincides with a new regional branding effort and corporate identity program for Sparta, dubbed "Bluegrass, USA."

Home to several early bluegrass pioneers, Sparta is regarded as a cradle for the musical genre, a theme that resonates throughout the Web site, starting with the banjo picker who greets viewers on the home page.

Visitors to can travel the virtual streets of Bluegrass, USA and find everything from historical tidbits and a Sparta trivia quiz to key information such as phone numbers for city officials and economic development information.

"Our new Web site is an invaluable marketing tool for Sparta," said Mayor Tommy Pedigo. "It will help us promote Sparta to tourists and visitors, retirees, business and industry, and many other groups and individuals. Our strategy is to increase the number and the volume of our revenue streams. Our goal is to contribute to the well being of the citizens of Sparta." More here.

Looking forward: County adopts brand for uniform promotion

A new branding campaign is under way for Tuscarawas County.

The logo features a prominent Tuscarawas County, with the theme “A tradition of creating the future.” It’s Phase Two of the Tuscarawas 2020 marketing committee’s plans to create a brand for use by businesses, organizations and residents throughout the area.

“It provides a philosophical approach toward looking long-term for the county’s growth,” said Tiffany Gerber, who will become chairwoman of the marketing committee in January. “If the logo keeps appearing, it starts to become a top of the mind recognition for people. We’d like to see it appearing all the time in some form, whether it’s on Web sites, stationery or with e-mail correspondence.”

“It works across the board,” said Kelli Baker of the marketing committee. “We’re not asking anyone to abandon their own brand or identity. We’d just like to see them make this part of their overall efforts. Several organizations and businesses have already told us they’re adding the new logo to their e-mail or letterhead. The 2020 Web site is being revised to reflect the changes as well.” More here.