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Archive for the ‘Regional Economic Marketing’ Category

Regional Social Media – When One Voice Speaks for Many

Often overlooked, a fabulous opportunity for regional economic development marketing lies in maintaining an image of a region as an integrated whole, while at the same time promoting specific attractions and events within it that engage audiences through social media.

While many municipalities have developed social media policies, some are still uncomfortable with social media and have not engaged yet. At a regional level this may be amplified as consensus may be difficult to achieve. In some cases the opposite occurs as regional parts are able to step back and let “social media testing” occur through the regional organization at a regional level.

Once the decision has been made to embrace social media, and policies have been established, the next round of consensus building begins. This includes:

  • How to maintain a modicum of information balance across the regional activities and events;
  • How to ensure that all partners are fairly represented;
  • How to communicate with a single voice through the efforts of many publishers;
  • What voice and message is appropriate to represent the region;
  • How to assign roles and responsibilities and resources; and
  • How to manage and maintain multiple social media channels.

Around the governance table the first rounds of questions arise: are all the partners satisfied that they are gaining value from the (more…)

Regional Outreach – Multiplying the Impact

Success breeds success in economic development, and a busy website breeds business.

A regional development website should be at the center of many types of communication. Blogs, news releases, newsletters, surveys, case studies and social networking interactions combine to show the viewer that there is energy and activity in the economic community. A collaborative communications network can be built to manage such a site and this approach offers many advantages – but there are also significant challenges to overcome.

Involvement and Engagement

If effectively designed, a regional website can present a picture of unification combined with diversity. That is accomplished by demonstrating that the partners and geographic areas in the regional organization are all involved in its communications and engaging with its audiences.

You can see how this collaborative communication creates an image of business in action by visiting www.wmep.org. This is the site (more…)

Regional Websites – Managing Many Connected Websites

Regionomic marketing initiatives have inherent challenges of organization, equitable management and branding, as we have discussed in this series of articles to date. Intertwined with these is the challenge of finding cost-effective ways to present a unified marketing message for the region while retaining self-expression for the individual communities.

On the web, this challenge can be met by a combination of strategy and technology. To begin with strategy, what is the best way to think about saving time and money for the regional marketing organization? The answer is not to focus internally but externally – by thinking about what’s best for prospective investors and site selectors.

Keeping the User in Mind

They, too, need to operate efficiently. They need to understand the characteristics of an economic region as well as specific places within it. They don’t want to waste time searching multiple sites and figuring out how to navigate each one. They simply won’t do it, in fact. Faced with (more…)

Regional Branding – Representing Multiple Communities

Tough economic times tend to spur two kinds of activities that are important to economic development – innovation and collaboration. In today’s hyper-competitive environment, communities must deal with severely constrained investment opportunities as well as low ED budgets, and so they are joining forces in innovative, collaborative regional initiatives. We call this “regionomic marketing” and it is generally carried out by regional organizations formed to achieve specific goals or address specific economic development issues (see “Regional Marketing Trends,” published November 30, 2010).

Collaboration is not easy. Without it, though, communities in a region can be disadvantaged by a disjointed public image. This is especially damaging on the web, where a hodgepodge of messages and positioning by different communities can send a signal to site selectors that the region is not favorable to the growth of modern creative-industry clusters.

The Need for Regional Branding

When communities embark on regionomic marketing the first challenge is what to name the region and how to brand the region. Branding is a basic necessity as marketing strategies, tactics and campaigns cannot be executed without it.

If a region doesn’t already have a name, choosing one that will please everybody is difficult. Which of the many assets or (more…)

Regional Marketing Trends

Something new in economic development arrived in 2010. It came from the State of California and bears watching as a model for regional economic development.

For two decades there has been a growing trend for communities to work together to attract businesses, investors and tourists to their regions. It makes all kinds of sense to pursue development on a regional basis. Neighboring communities are economically interdependent, since employees in one town will shop or attend events in another, so the benefits of a new business spread throughout a region. Pooling community resources for investment attraction takes advantage of economies of scale and increases the reach and collective attractiveness of the communities involved.

California’s iHubs

Now California has combine this idea with the concept of the creative economy. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order on April 8, 2010, establishing the Governor’s Office of Economic Development as the state’s lead economic development agency and that body is leading the California Innovation Hub Initiative.

The initiative is designed to promote collaboration, create employment opportunities, shorten the commercialization process and attract funding for technology. The “i” in iHub represents the words innovation, inspiration, invention, ingenuity, and investment. iHubs are (more…)

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