Monday, March 31, 2014

Good Economic News


Here are just a few of the recent jobs announcements that have crossed my desk in recent weeks.
Ottobock Healthcare, a maker of medical devices, will open a distribution center in Louisville, Kentucky, creating 25 jobs.

XanEdu Publishing, Inc., a maker of educational materials, will expand in Ann Arbor, Michigan, creating 65 jobs.

In Knox County, Tennessee, food products maker Flowers Foods will open a new operation and hire 100 people.

In South Bend, Indiana, Lippert Components, a supplier to the recreational vehicle industry, will expand and create 200 jobs.

In Gwinnett County, Georgia, shipping company United Arab Shipping Company will open its new headquarters and hire 160 people.

Technology Solutions, Inc., a firm specializing in medical software and archery products, will expand in Ashley, Indiana, creating 26 jobs.

In McDowell County, North Carolina, surface application provider XO.STEEL, LLC will open a new facility and hire 30 people.

AM Manufacturing Company, a dough machine maker, will open a facility in Munster, Indiana and hire 40 people.

In Union County, Tennessee, heavy equipment maker Greenfield Products will expand and create 100 jobs.

In Bellaire, Michigan, Short’s Brewing Company will expand and hire 18 people.

In Fayette County, Georgia, medical devices company Gerreshiemer Peachtree City, LP will expand and add 120 employees.

Team Air, Inc., a maker of HVAC products, will open a facility in Rutherford County, North Carolina, creating 70 jobs.

In Carmel, Indiana, Stonegate Mortgage Corporation will expand and create 400 jobs.

Metal products maker Proos will expand in Grand Rapids, Michigan, hiring 50 people.

GE Avaition, a component supplier to the aviation industry, will open a new jet engine production facility in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, creating 200 jobs.

In Cowetta County, Georgia, bottled water supplier Niagara Bottling, LLC will expand and create 40 jobs.

Paper products maker Resolute Forest Products US will expand in Calhoun, Tennessee, creating 25 jobs.

In Strasburg, Virginia, paper products maker Mercury Paper will expand and hire 96 employees.

Total Jobs Announcements: 1,765

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis, Indiana: 317.536.6255
Fax: 317.222.1425
Charlotte, North Carolina: 704.230.0394
Atlanta, Georgia: 404.474.7980
Cell: 317.523.7380
  
Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and public relations firm with a focus on economic development.






Powerful Reasons to Launch a Community Branding Effort

A well thought out strategy can make all the difference

By: Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.

Why should we brand? It’s amazing how often I’m asked this question, and sure understand the confusion. It usually comes from the idea that a brand and a logo are one and the same. They aren’t.

What is a brand?
Contrary to popular belief, a brand is not a logo or slogan. A beautiful and carefully supported visual mark can be a strong stimulus, but it must effectively convey a set of beliefs that are shared by all audiences. Consider McDonald’s golden arches. The simple sight of them conjures certain feelings and expectations that are relevant, differentiated from the competition, and believable.

The true definition of a brand is that it is a promise. When you see the McDonald’s arches, you know exactly what’s inside the store. You know what it will look like, smell like, how the workers will be dressed, and which food items will be on the menu. This is the promise. If you were to walk into a McDonald’s store and find that everything had changed, you would be seriously disappointed. The promise would be broken.

A community is no different. With a marketing message that is believable and differentiates your community from others, viewer and visitor expectations will grow. What you promise and what you deliver must match.

What is the benefit of branding?
Before I answer this question, let me first define “branding.” In this situation, I am referring to a program to define a community’s key messages and then effectively promote them to clearly identified and carefully selected audiences.

First, a branding effort provides a competitive advantage. People are much more comfortable doing business in or moving to a place they know. If they are aware of your community and have positive feelings about it, it’s much easier for them to see themselves living and working there.

Next, it builds pride and loyalty among businesses and people who are already there. When existing business executives and residents see that their community is being promoted with a believable message, they are more likely to feel that they made the right decision to be there. They are also more likely to become strong community advocates, suggesting to business colleagues that they move there. Another advantage is that it’s easier to attract talented workers to a place they know and for which they have a positive opinion.

Who are the audiences?
In the economic development industry, there are several audiences, each with different needs and expectations. It’s very important to fully understand those needs and to carefully communicate with them in powerful and effective ways. Site selection consultants, real estate professionals, and c-suite executives have very specific and demanding expectations that must be considered when developing marketing or branding efforts. They expect you to tell them how you can serve their needs and help them do business and make money in your community. It’s also important to carefully address the needs of existing businesses. If they’re considering and expansion, they need to know that your location is right and that your office is there to serve their needs. Trailing families cannot be forgotten. If your community is in the top three or five places being considered, the trailing spouse and family are much more likely to be an advocate for your community if they feel good about being there. If not, you could be off the list. If a message fails to resonate with each and every audience, the resulting disconnect can result in a less than successful campaign.

Regardless of what your community has to offer or which industries you are targeting, it is always important to carefully develop a positive brand message and support it with a smart and well-funded marketing effort. The goal, of course, is to grow awareness and plant seeds that will germinate and grow into opportunities for a strong economy where area residents can live the American Dream.

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts and personal experiences below.

Have a great week and I’ll see you soon,

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis: 317.536.6255
Charlotte: 704:230:0394
Atlanta: 404.474.7980
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380


Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and public relations firm with a focus on economic development branding and marketing.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Good Economic News


Here are just a few of the recent jobs announcements that have crossed my desk in recent weeks.
Advance Engineering Company, a metal and plastic products maker, eill expand in Canton Charter Township, Michigan, creating 150 jobs.

Prudential, an insurance services provider, will add 800 employees companywide.

Cool Planet Energy Systems will open bio-refineries at Port of Alexandris and Natchitoches, Louisisna, creating 72 jobs.

Fiber and textile maker Toray Industries will expand in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, adding 500 jobs.

In Hopkinsville, Kentucky, US Smokeless Tobacco Company, a maker of tobacco products, will expand and hire 42 people.

Amazon.com will expand and add 2,500 jobs companywide.

Furniture maker BuzziSpace, Inc. will open a new facility in Guilford County, North Carolina, creating 113 jobs.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, WS Packaging Group, Inc. will consolidate operations and create 231 jobs.

In Winter Park, Florida, Allied Specialty Vehicles will expand and hire 126 people.

Deloite has announced that it will add 2,000 employees companywide

Hyatt Hotels Corporation will move more than 60 IT jobs to downtown Chicago, Illinois, creating 60 jobs.

In Henrietta, New York, engineering services firm Retrotech will expand and create 23 jobs.

Spirits maker Makers Mark Distillery will expand in Loretto, Kentucky, adding 30 workers.

Vacuum and home products maker Electrolux will expand and hire 810 people.

In Clinton County, Indiana, food maker ConAgra will open a distribution center, creating 76 jobs.

Software maker Microsoft will add 500 jobs companywide.

Auto components maker Magna Exteriors and Interiors will expand in St. Clair and Benzie Counties, Michigan, adding 274 employees.

Healthcare technology company Leidos will add 1,880 employees companywide.

Select Plastics, LLC, a maker of plastic sheeting, will expand in Scott City, Missouri, creating 28 jobs.

In Anderson County, South Carolina, woven rug maker Orian Rugs will expand and create 125 jobs.

In Sumter County, South Carolina, King Machine, a maker of molds, will open a new facility and hire 20 people.

Gymguyz will add 200 jobs companywide.

In Forest City, North Carolina, HVAC products maker Team Air will open a new facility and hire 70 people.

Finance provider Quicken Loans will aqdd 200 employees companywide.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Irongate Home Finance will open a corporate headquarters, creating 125 jobs.

Benefitfocus will expand and add 1,200 employees companywide.

In Whitfield County, Georgia, flooring company IVC US will expand and create 200 jobs.

In Oconee County, South Carolina, automotive supplier US Engine Valve will expand and add 125 employees.

In Adams County, Indiana, barge maker Poseidon Barge will open a facility and hire 26 people.

 Blue Prings, Missouri, Xcelicent, a real estate information provider, will expand and add 211 jobs.

Auto Components maker Echo Automotive will open a facility in Anderson, Indiana, creating 10 jobs.

Pirtek USA will expand and add 100 employees companywide.

Performance Software Corporation, a systems and software developer, will open a facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, creating 58 jobs.

Autoneum, an auto components provider, will expand in Jeffersonville, Indiana, creating 220 jobs.

Alied Modular Building Systems, Inc., a maker of wall systems, will expand in Sumner County, Tennessee, creating 27 jobs.

WeylChem US, Inc., a provider of mmanufacturing and tolling services, will expand in Elgin, South Carolina, adding 49 employees.

AutoCare will expand and add 150 employees.

BOMAG Americas, a maker of compaction equipment, will open a facility in Fairfield County, South Carolina, creating 121 jobs.

Power Home Financing will expand and add 1,200 jobs.

Insurance provider Esurance will open a new office in Greenville County, South Carolina, creating 450 jobs.

Technology service provider ConnectWise will expand in Hillsborough County, Florida, creating 112 jobs.

Evonik Industries, a chemical company, will expand in Chesterfield County, Virginia, adding 50 employees.

In Orangeburg County, South Carolina, asphalt products maker Walker Emulsions will open a new facility and hire 11 people.

In Lebanon, Tennessee, metal products maker Novamet Specialty Products will open its headquarters, creating 43 jobs 

PNC Bank will expand and add 2,000 jobs companywide.

Emerson Power Transmission Corporation, a maker of auto components, will open a facility and hire 7 people 

In Henry County, Virginia, aircraft components maker Kilgour Industries, Ltd will open a facility and hire 155 people.

In Cherokee County, Georgia, Inalfa Roof Systems, a provider of vehicle roof products, will expand and hire 100 people.

Oil and gas industry company Danos will open a facility in Iberia, Louisiana, creating 100 jobs.

In Grant County, Indiana, sporting goods retailer Dunham’s Sports will expand and add 135 employees. Congrats to economic developer Tim Eckerle on a job well done.

Total Jobs Announcements: 17,815

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis, Indiana: 317.536.6255
Fax: 317.222.1425
Charlotte, North Carolina: 704.230.0394
Atlanta, Georgia: 404.474.7980
Cell: 317.523.7380


Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and public relations firm with a focus on economic development.

The Amazing Power of Marketing Momentum

Some communities just get all the buzz

By: Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.

A few weeks ago, as I was enjoying my usual early morning reading time, I came across a very interesting article and related video on the subject of success momentum. The video included an interview with a business owner who spoke about how his string of business wins fuels his company’s success and growth. He said that each time they win a new piece of business, the word spreads and creates buzz that generates even more activity.

Over the years, I’ve seen the same thing happen to communities. First, a new company moves in and hires a bunch of people, then an existing business expands, etc., etc., etc. Before long, industry publications and blogs are alive with chatter, creating a seemingly unstoppable momentum. Take a look at what’s happening with Asheville, North Carolina, Austin, Texas, Denver, Colorado, and several other locations. A firestorm of publicity causes prospects to take a look just to see what’s going on. It reminds me of a strategy I used several years ago as an exhibitor at major trade shows. Whenever traffic near our booth would slow down, I would instruct our booth workers to stand in the aisle and look in. Passersby would see the “crowd” and stop by just to see what was so interesting.

Creating buzz!
So, just how can a community get so much attention? Well, you first have to create news by doing the very hard work of attracting jobs and investment. No easy task, but if you do nothing more than attend local breakfast meetings and wait for your state economic development agency to throw you a bone, little or nothing is going to happen. I recently saw data showing a direct correlation between investment, marketing, sales effort and project activity. Duh! Communities that actively invest in marketing are much more likely to be considered for projects than those that do little or nothing. It’s a brutally competitive world out there, and if you’re not investing time and money in the marketing and sales process, your wins are naturally going to be limited.

It’s crucial to build awareness and visibility among the site selector, real estate, and c-suite community. My personal observation is that our clients who participate in major conferences and industry events have a serious advantage over those who do not. I understand that the cost can be significant, but it’s well worth the investment. Community leaders need to understand this and financially support their economic developers.

A few years ago, I met an economic developer who complained that her board would not give her the necessary funds to do a respectable job of marketing. She needed a new website and wanted to attend a couple of industry conferences each year in order to tell her community’s story. Unfortunately, her board refused the needed funding; saying that if she would just land one project, there might be enough money to grant her request. She did it. Within a few months, she managed an expansion project that added eighty-five new jobs to her small community. She was fired up! Excited and wanting to do even more, she approached her board chair and reminded him of the earlier promise. His response? “Your recent win shows me that you can accomplish great things without additional funding. Just keep doing what you’re doing.” It came as no surprise to me when she called a few weeks later to tell me that she had accepted a position with the neighboring county. Her funding is much greater and she’s generating tons of activity and buzz for her new community. Her previous employer is still looking for her replacement, but the word is out and no one wants to work there. I guess they have buzz, too.

Promote your wins
When you do win a project, even a very small one, shout it to the world. In addition to contacting your local media, be sure to distribute a professionally-written news release, with photos, to industry media, blogs, social media discussion boards, and any other local, regional, state, or national forum you can think of. Do you think the above-mentioned places just coincidentally get mentioned? No, they actively tell their stories through paid media, public relations, social media marketing, and other venues that get in front of target audiences. You can do it, too. Get started now and enjoy the advantage of momentum.

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts and personal experiences below.

Have a great week and I’ll see you soon,

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis: 317.536.6255
Charlotte: 704:230:0394
Atlanta: 404.474.7980
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380



Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and public relations firm with a focus on economic development branding and marketing.

Monday, February 3, 2014

QOL: Not as Important as You Think?

Even if your parks are really, really awesome

By: Colleen Walton  
Colleen Walton
Account Executive
Brand Acceleration, Inc.

In January, I attended the Indiana Economic Development Course at Ball State University.  The week-long intensive program presented thought-provoking information and fueled vibrant discussions.  It was during a late-morning presentation that I said something so simple and yet, it turns out, quite controversial.  At first, people either argued with me or completely wrote me off; however, many of them came around.  As the week progressed, a number of people pulled me aside and, in hushed tones, told me I might've been right.  One woman even described it as an "aha moment." So, what was it I said?

Quality of life cannot be your competitive advantage.

Sometimes the truth is hard to hear, but it's time to rip off the bandage.  While I do believe quality of life is important, it isn't the thing that'll pique site selectors' interests.  To help explain my point, I'll share the example I gave my classmates. 

Let's say I'm going to buy a car.  I'll start by making a list of all the things I'm looking for in a car.  I have a limited income, so I can't afford anything too outlandish.  I can't afford a lofty car payment, high insurance rates, or to fill by my tank twice a week because I get 11 miles to the gallon.  I'd like something American, black or silver, with a stereo I can plug my iPod into.  As I look at my list, I would then divide it into "wants" and "needs."  I want an iPod jack, but I need to be able to afford to own and operate my car.  Need will create my short list, so I'll pick four or five cars in my price range.  Then, I'm free to choose from that list based on want. 

For the more literal among you, I'll explain how this relates to quality of life and economic development marketing.  Businesses need to be able to afford to do business in an area.  They need skilled workers.  They need to get raw materials in and finished products out.  They want great parks and trails, so your parks can't be your main selling point.  Jim's written about your elevator pitch, and the concept comes into play here, as well.  If a site selector asks you to tell him or her one thing that makes your community great for business and you talk about your vibrant downtown, you may have just blown it.

Businesses see a great quality of life as a want instead of a need because they aren’t planning to bring that many people to your community.  According to the 2010 census, the average American family was 3.14 people; however, a new salsa-making facility (mmm… salsa…) that employs 150 people won’t bring 471 people to your town.  It’ll more than likely bring around 16.  Why is that?  Because the workforce is already there; therefore, the company will only bring a small group (between three and five) management folks and their families.  If your marketing focuses on quality of life, you are wasting time and money preaching to the choir because the employees any new facility intends to hire already live in your area.  You don’t need to tell them it’s a great place to live because they know!  Instead, put your resources into promoting the things that do affect business: location, connectivity, workforce training, utility rates, etc. 

Like the car metaphor, a site selector will narrow down the list of prospective communities based mainly on the availability of sites or buildings that meet the specified requirements, the workforce and education available, and the cost of doing business in the area.  Quality of life begins to play a bigger role once your community is short listed.  After the site selector decides your community makes good business sense, quality of life may become a deciding factor between three communities that are otherwise equal.  When something becomes important so late in the game, it can’t be the focus of your marketing strategy or the thing you lead with in your elevator pitch.  That would be like a car company making a commercial that says, “Buy this car!  It’s a bluer blue than the other guys’ blue cars!”


I would love to hear your thoughts on how big of a role quality of life plays in economic development marketing.  Did this article open your eyes to something you’d never thought of before?  Do you think I’m insane?  Let me know (politely, please?) in the comments below.  When commenting, please keep in mind that I know there are exceptions to every rule.  I’m sure some of you can tell a story about a community that got a huge project because the company’s president likes hunting antelope and that community is the antelope capital of the United States.  That’s awesome, but they’re the exception.

Good Economic News


Here are just a few of the recent jobs announcements that have crossed my desk in recent weeks.

In Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Hendrickson USA, a maker of auto components, will locate a plant and create 75 jobs.

In Boone County, Indiana, retailer Hat World will open a new headquarters and add 758 employees. Congrats to Brand Acceleration client Boone County Economic Development Corporation on a job well done.

In Greenville County, South Carolina, metal stamping company Stueken LLC will expand and create 27 jobs.

Tyco Fore Protection will expand and add 1,300 employees companywide.

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation will expand in Brunswick, Georgia, creating 100 jobs.

In Indianapolis, Indiana, education non-profit Project Lead the Way, Inc. will expand and create 30 jobs.

In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, clinical trial provider Blue Bell will expand and hire 250 people.

In East Springdale, Arkansas, NanoMech, a provider of engineering materials will open a new operation and create 50 jobs.

PWC Accounting will expand and hire 14,000 people companywide.

In Kansas City, Missouri, Lead Bank will expand and hire 12 people.

In Tifton, Georgia, pillow maker American Textile Company will expand and double its workforce.

Ceramics maker CeramTec North America Corporation will expand in Laurens County, South Carolina, creating 40 jobs.

In Chicago, Illinois, EquiTrust Life Insurance Company will open a new office and add 200 employees.

Popcorn Sutton Distilling, LLC, a maker of distilled products, has opened a new facility in Cocke County, Tennessee, and will hire 36 people.

In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, appliance maker Electrolux will expand its headquarters and hire 810 employees.

Electrical products distributor Graybar will expand and add 200 jobs.

In Anderson County, South Carolina, Baldor Electric Company, a maker of electric motors, will expand and create 45 jobs.

Retailer Nordstrom, Inc. will open a fulfillment center in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, creating 369 jobs.

In Anderson County, South Carolina, packaging company packIQ will expand and hire 50 people.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, technology provider Comcast will build an innovation center and create 1,500 jobs.

Packaging maker InterFlex Acquisition Company LLC will expand in Wilkes County, North Carolina, adding 63 employees.

In Davenport, Iowa, aluminum products maker Alcoa will expand and hire 150 people.

Insurance provider WellPoint will expand and hire 500 people companywide.

Nut butter maker Nutkao USA, Inc. will open a new facility in Nash County, North Carolina, creating 56 jobs.

In Harriman, Tennessee, ArcelorMittal will reopen its facility and hire 61 people.

Food maker General Mills will expand in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and create 41 jobs.

Beretta USA, a maker of firearms, will open a facility in Gallatin, Tennessee, adding 300 jobs.

Tejas Tubular Products, a supplier to the oil and gas industry, will open a facility in Norfolk, Nebraska, and hire 200 people.

JP Morgan Chase, a financial services provider, will expand and create 4,000 jobs companywide.

Boot maker Lifestyle Footwear will expand in Moca, Puerto Rico, creating 182 jobs.

In Henderson County, North Carolina, packing maker ASG will expand and add 50 employees.

In Van Buren Charter Township, Michigan, pharmacy benefits manager MedImpact Healthcare Systems will open a new operation, adding 75 employees.

In Morristown, Tennessee, consumer products company Colgate-Palmolive will open a new plant and hire 75 people.

Intouch Solutions, a provider of services to the pharmaceutical industry, will relocate to Overland Park, Kansas, creating 350 jobs.

Standard Medical Acceptance Corporation, a medical financial services provider, will open a new facility in Chowan County, North Carolina, adding 32 employees.

Food processor Kellogg’s will expand and add 300 employees companywide.

In Pineville, Louisiana, electrical transmission provider Crest Industries will expand and create 90 jobs.

CHOMARAT North America, a maker of building products, will expand in Anderson County, South Carolina, creating 20 jobs.

Outdoor Merchandiser Cabela’s will open a distribution center in Tooele County, Utah, creating 250 jobs.

In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, automation company Eclipse Automation, Inc. will expand and create 50 jobs.

In Louisville, Kentucky, Ford will expand its truck plant and create 350 jobs.

Gas valve maker Key Gas Components, Inc. will expand in McDowell County, North Carolina, adding 37 employees.

In Lynchburg, Virginia, thermoplastics composits maker Hanwha Azdell will expand and create 33 jobs.

In Davenport, Iowa, agricultural sprayer maker Hardi North America will expand and hire 24 people.

In Greenville, South Carolina, ChartSpan Medical Technologies, a healthcare data company, will open a new headquarters and add 30 employees.

In Erie County, Pennsylvania, food processor Maple Donuts, Inc. has expanded and will hire 60 people.

Total Quality Logistics, a transportation company, will open a new operation in Davidson County, Tennessee, creating 105 jobs.

In Rapid City, South Dakota, Personal Group, Inc. will expand and add 12 employees.

In Virginia, building products retailer Lumber Liquidator will expand and create 250 jobs.

Food Distributor Loffredo Gardens, Inc. will build a new facility in Des Moines, Iowa, creating 6 jobs.

Funai Electric Company Ltd. A maker of inkjet and microfluid products, will open a facility in Lexington, Kentucky, creating 50 jobs.

Plastic products maker Berry Plastics Corporation will expand and hire 336 people in Evansville, Princeton, and Richmond, Indiana.

In Dekalb County, Indiana, metal recycler MetalX, LLC will open a new plant and hire 80 people.

Alion Science and Technology, a provider to the space and defense industries, will open a new operation in Charleston, South Carolina.

In Monroe County, Indiana, AB Bio Technologies, Inc., a maker of products for the drug industry, will expand and add 10 employees.

Financial services provider Capital One will expand and add 2,000 employees companywide.

In Tampa, Florida, BioPharma provider Bristol-Myers Squibb will open a facility and add 579 employees.

In Stanly County, North Carolina, Fiberon, a maker of decking and fence products, will expand and add 25 jobs.

In Chambers County, Alabama, Knauf Insulation reopened its plant, which now employs 120 people.

In Bryan County, Georgia, arms maker Daniel Defense will expand and add 120 employees.

Robinson Laser, a maker of steel parts, will open in Pomona, Missouri, creating 30 jobs.

In Chicopee, Massachusetts, windor and door maker Menck USA, Inc. will open a new operation and hire 50 people.

In Memphis, Tennessee, Conduit Global will open a call center and hire 1,000 people.

In Monroe County, Indiana, TASUS, a maker of auto components, will expand and hire 5 people.

In Carter Lake, Iowa, fabricated steel supplier Owen Industries, Inc. will expand and add 16 employees.

Kilgour Industries, Ltd., a maker of aircraft components, will expand in Martinsville, Virginia, creating 155 jobs.

In Pulaski County, Virginia, firearms maker Alexander Industries will open a new operation and create 64 jobs.

Inventory closeout reseller Olie’s will open a distribution center in Jackson County, Georgia, creating 185 jobs.

In Austin, Texas, cloud service provider athenahealth, Inc. will expand and hire 607 people.

Energy efficiency company Ecosave will open a headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and hire 125 people.

In Horry County, South Carolina, brewing equipment maker Accent Stainless Steel will open a new headquarters and hire 65 people.

In Franklin County, Kentucky, Beam, Inc., a distributor of distilled products, will open a distribution center and hire 60 people.


Total Jobs Announcements: 33,166+

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis, Indiana: 317.536.6255
Fax: 317.222.1425
Charlotte, North Carolina: 704.230.0394
Atlanta, Georgia: 404.474.7980
Cell: 317.523.7380


  
Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and public relations firm with a focus on economic development.






Sunday, December 29, 2013

Master Your Elevator Pitch

Be ready for any opportunity

For years, I’ve been advocating that economic developers write and master an elevator pitch. Considering the number of meetings and conferences they typically attend, there are numerous opportunities to tell their community’s story. Unfortunately, some people consider the idea of an elevator pitch to be a bit corny. “I know my community very well,” is the usual response. “I’ve lived there my entire life.” Recently, however, I witnessed evidence of what happens when people are not prepared.

Part of the scheduled program at a multi-state economic development conference, the room was set with a table designated for each of several industries, and each discussion was led by a site selection consultant with expertise in that industry. As I wandered the room, trying to determine which discussion interested me, I heard a site consultant invite each person at his table to introduce themselves and their communities.  That got my attention. It is for just such situations that I advocate a polished pitch.

It was a fascinating thing to watch. A few people had their pitch down pat. Their intro was brief, well thought out, and presented masterfully. Some had the right idea, but struggled to articulate their thoughts. Then there were those who were caught completely off guard. They were at a loss, with no idea what to say. It was very uncomfortable to watch.

Ride the elevator
So, just how did the idea of an elevator pitch come about? Someone once noted that the typical elevator ride took about thirty seconds. If two people met in an elevator, the ideal sales pitch could be presented before the door opened. That, then, was considered the ideal amount of time needed for an intro pitch.

Even today, the thirty second pitch lives on at networking events, cocktail receptions, and meetings. In some communities, networking events are held where attendees move from table to table, giving their intro pitch and exchanging business cards. Failure to have a polished pitch could mean the difference between networking success and a complete waste of time and money.

Know your audience
Now, back to the conference I mentioned. When an economic developer chose to sit at an industry-specific table, say, Food Processing, I would assume that person was there to learn more about how site selections were made for the food industry and for an opportunity to network with the site consultant at that table. Why, then, would that economic developer not be fully prepared for the chance to make an intro pitch. With a little research into the industry, it would be reasonably easy to know what he or she wants to hear and then develop a sensible thirty second pitch. Sadly, many people show up at such events with no idea what they will say when the opportunity presents itself.

Plan of action
Here’s my recommendation. If you know your target industries and can defend your reasons for selecting them, craft a short written statement for each and read them over and over and over until they are committed to memory. Be prepared for any possibility. So, the next time you’re in a situation like the conference I described, you’ll be able ti instinctively recite your elevator pitch in an effective and impactful way.

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your thoughts and personal experiences below.

Have a great week and I’ll see you soon,

Jim Walton
CEO
Brand Acceleration, Inc.
Branding // Marketing Communications // Public Relations
Indianapolis: 317.536.6255
Charlotte: 704:230:0394
Atlanta: 404.474.7980
Fax: 317.222.1425
Cell: 317.523.7380


Brand Acceleration is a full-service marketing communications, brand management and public relations firm with a focus on economic development branding and marketing.