Discovering Differentiators: Why Positioning Matters
Economic developers might glance over a regional branding campaign in favor of larger priorities, such as building good sites or robust incentive packages. But a region’s visual identity is more than pretty pictures and colors – it has large implications for economic development.
To put it all into perspective, here’s a summary of findings from Oxford Economics and other resources.
Site selection and talent attraction is all about people.
Multiple sources emphasize that every tourist who visits has the potential to be a future resident and a valuable addition to our talent pool. Seventy-six percent of job seekers surveyed used first-hand experience to inform their impressions of a community. MSAs that attract greater numbers of leisure visitors also attract a greater share of college educated residents.
Similarly, business travel is the third most influential factor influencing an executive’s perception of an area’s business climate, while personal travel is eighth. It goes without saying that a good experience, whether for work or play, can impact a site selector’s decision in a region’s favor.
Tourism brings capital – and investment.
Tourism encourages investment in infrastructure. Airlines are attracted to set up hubs where passenger demand is high, but that in turn becomes a marketable asset in terms of the region’s supply chain and logistic capabilities. The same thing can be said of roads, trains and public transportation, where visitor spending can fuel bigger projects than would normally be sustainable by the local economy.
Ripple effect on the economy.
Tourist spending also improves local amenities from which residents can also benefit. The hospitality and tourism industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country – building an attractive message is one way to claim some of that growth for a region. And it’s not just isolated to one sector – destinations with a higher concentration of visitor-related activities and employment have historically experienced faster growth overall.
How do we want the Cincinnati region represented to the world?
At the core of an effective regional branding campaign is knowing your region’s DNA and putting a stake in the ground. We all know Austin’s weird, Boston’s strong, and Michigan is pure. Greater Cincinnati’s reputation amongst visitors is a question mark, but this blank canvas is a big opportunity for the region to carve out its piece of the American pie.
Ohio’s Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) program is the major state program that enables collaboration among municipalities and townships to encourage investment and job creation. Over the past few years, the JEDD program has undergone a number of significant changes that impact on its practical use.read more
I first met Dan in the fall of 2016. I had moved to Central Ohio over the late holiday season in 2015 to begin serving as the new Director of GROW Licking County CIC, Dan’s former role. I was immediately struck by many in the community who worried that I would “not be enough,” that the “shoes were too big,” and that “Dan was larger than life.” And they were right.read more
The Ohio Economic Development Association’s annual Excellence Awards program recognizes the achievements of individuals and organizations in Ohio in the areas of economic and workforce development. Submit your nominations today and have excellence in your community recognized statewide!
A panel of judges will evaluate the nominations, determine finalists, and select a winner for each of the categories noted below. Award winners will be announced in conjunction with the 2022 OEDA Annual Summit, being held October 3-6 at the Exchange at Bridge Park in Dublin, Ohio.read more