News & Views

Iowa’s Creative Corridor Features Fun, Fresh Campaign to Recruit Talent

More than a decade ago, Iowa’s Creative Corridor launched an informational mailer that included a CD-ROM showcasing the region in an effort to attract talent and recruit high-level employees who sometimes confuse Iowa with Idaho or Ohio, and typically have little knowledge of the region. Fast-forward to about five years ago – when Iowa decided to scrap the mailer entirely, and was born. It’s a top-notch talent campaign and web presence, developed in partnership by the Iowa City Area Development Group and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance to tell stories about all that is happening in Eastern Iowa and help interstate commerce companies and large employers with workforce retention and attraction in Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington Counties. DCI spoke with Eric Hanson, Communications Director for the Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD) & DaLayne Williamson, Workforce Business Services Director with the ICAD Group, to learn more about the talent campaign – including and the social media campaign #IowaBrag.

Launch Date: launched in 2010 #IowaBrag launched in 2014

Budget: $10,000 annually

What DCI loves about the campaign:

High-quality, frequently updated videos

Iowa’s Creative Corridor updates the website videos every 18 months to 2 years, and spends a little extra to ensure the videos are fresh and reflect what’s currently happening – whether that is new company leadership or new quotes and interviews to reflect the accurate story of the region. In the near future, the organization plans to add more videos that focus on diversity – especially international diversity – to reflect the demographic landscape shift.

Putting story-telling capabilities in the hands of employers

The ICAD Group recently launched a campaign called “We’ve Got Your Back,” which provides designs for employers to put on the back of business cards to promote the area. This is smart marketing – and such a great way to spur conversations and spread the word to lead to economic development in the region. The organization has made three designs available for businesses to place on the back, blank side of business cards. The designs include promoting the #IowaBrag Campaign, quality of life website and regional branding project. The organization has even partnered with area printers to offer a 20 percent discount through Labor Day 2015 on business card printing orders that include the three designs. Image 2

Generating extensive bragging rights

#IowaBrag is a Twitter, Facebook and web-based social campaign that provides sharable facts about Iowa’s Creative Corridor and the State of Iowa. The campaign has generated 1.6 million impressions and more than 2,500 retweets in its #IowaBrag campaign. The campaign allows users to easily share “brags” on everything that is Eastern Iowa – from the football team to ag production to famous Iowans like Ashton Kutcher. All brags are directed back to the “Pick Your Pace” website. The images are simple, and designed for people to share via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. It’s easy to share and puts things in the hands of other people – the organization has stayed hands off on purpose to let the program grow organically. What’s more, the #IowaBrag campaign received a Silver Level District American Advertising Award earlier this year. Image 4

Companies get creative to recruit talent allows regional employers to create customized company pages to help tell the story of business, life and company culture. Major employers including Whirlpool, and ACT have created pages with personalized messages to help recruit talent. Each one is a little different, featuring videos, photos and key messages that help set each company apart. It’s working, too. Companies hiring mid-to-upper level employees find the website quite helpful, as it helps provide knowledge of all the quality of life aspects the region offers. Companies are now getting more resumes from outside the region, and the area’s population continues to grow.   Image 5

Written By

Sarah Reinecke

Sarah Reinecke is an Account Manager at DCI. Since joining the staff in 2013, she’s worked to tell the economic development stories of places that span from Salinas, Calif., to Wake County, N.C., and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to the state of Indiana.

More Articles by Sarah Reinecke

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