“Smart” Branding Engages Community, Attracts Talent to Wake County, N.C.October 31, 2014
The Research Triangle Region of North Carolina didn’t have a negative perception problem. It never got bad publicity. But a few years ago, the region also didn’t have a clearly defined brand, a concise elevator pitch, or unified messages for business leaders to grab ahold of to really sell the region to potential talent recruits.
To solve this problem, Wake County Economic Development, the economic development arm of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, began working with DCI in 2011 to develop a strategic plan to launch what would later become the Work in the Triangle talent attraction campaign. The campaign is centered on a brand built around the concept of being “smart,” including the intellectual capital the region boasts and the opportunity to make wiser lifestyle choices. Wake County and the surrounding areas began to brand themselves as “The Triangle,” in an effort to collaboratively position the region as one of the best destinations in the world for talented professionals. The region is projected to grow by 30 percent by 2030, so leaders in the business community also wanted to be sure that the area was attracting the right kinds of skilled professionals who would be a match for the Triangle’s high-growth industry sectors.
Based on the Triangle’s unique assets, DCI developed the “Work in the Triangle, Smarter from Any Angle” and “Triangle Smarty Pants Ambassadors” brands to engage target audiences. The campaign, led by Wake County Economic Development, combines three cities – Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham – and 13 counties.
The campaign earned Wake County Economic Development an IEDC Gold award in 2013 for its dual purpose brochure called “Make a Smart Move to Wake County, NC,” which serves as a relocation tool and provides a general overview of the distinct advantages Wake County offers for corporate and talent recruitment efforts. DCI recently caught up with Wake County Economic Development Assistant Executive Director Jennifer Bosser, and Marketing Assistant Brittany Cheatham, to get an update on the program two years after the talent initiative was launched.
What DCI Loves About the Campaign:
“#TriangleTuesday” Twitter campaign drives traffic, fills job openings: DCI and the Wake County team brainstormed around a platform that could be used to share jobs via social media and capture the attention of both companies in the region and skilled professionals. The winning idea? #TriangleTuesdays. Today, a year later, every Tuesday, companies in the region, along with Wake County Economic Development, push jobs out virtually through the “#TriangleTuesdays” Twitter campaign, using the hashtag as a virtual job board on that day. This has led to a spike in website traffic every second day of the work week and more clicks on their Twitter links, which can be reported back directly to the organizations investors. The effort has also become a great resource to both talent looking for jobs and to companies that need help with recruiting. The campaign has touched more than 200 regional companies who send Wake County Economic Development jobs, retweet, or tweet their own jobs with the hashtag #TriangleTuesdays. What’s more, hiring managers are crediting #TriangleTuesdays for finding new talent.
Promoting the Triangle at Austin’s SXSW Interactive trade show: Leaders developed clever contests and promotions to take on the road to SXSW to stand out among the sea of consumer brands, and promote the region and Triangle talent campaign. A SXSW #TriangleSolo contest, which encouraged attendees to play a song with musical triangle instruments for a chance to win a free trip to the Triangle, led to 53 #TriangleSolo videos and 666 views on the Work in the Triangle’s YouTube channel. Leaders gave away Raleigh-made products and tweeted about the giveaways using #PopUpRaleigh and #SXSW, and also designed a website landing page for SXSW to explain how to engage with the campaign.
As a result, @WorkTriangleNC received 109 Twitter mentions, 78 retweets and 107,035 impressions from retweets. The Work in the Triangle website received 1,398 unique monthly visitors in March 2013 – the month of SXSW – the highest number in campaign history to that date. About 500 people visited the Work in the Triangle trade show booth, and leaders gave away 300 “smart glasses” and 450 Triangle instruments.
Wake County’s ability to engage and inform the community to get on board with new branding: Since the May 2012 launch of the campaign, Wake County started a brand new Twitter handle and feed (@WorkTriangleNC) and has gained 5,000 Twitter followers in just two short years. Leaders worked hard to build a foundation for the Triangle branding efforts, and ensured partners, businesses and organizations understood the new campaign. It has worked. The website – a one-stop-shop for information relevant to job seekers looking to move to the area – garnered 1,400 unique visitors in the first month of the campaign
Leveraging external events, including BIO, to target audiences: Wake County Economic Development kicked off its new campaign at the BIO Career Fair as one of only two communities marketing themselves for talent and exhibiting at the job fair. Leaders met with more with 400 biotech professionals, collecting resumes from many of these potential candidates, and allowed people not physically at the job fair to engage with WCED via social media.
Building on existing platform to disseminate important news, information: Two years into the campaign, Wake County Economic Development leaders are in the midst of adding new content to the website to address some of the region’s challenges and misperceptions, especially surrounding the K-12 education system. The content will assist with recruitment efforts in the Northeast, to provide customized information on quality of schools and different options available.