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Top in Talent: Jacksonville, Florida Uses Authentic Storytelling as a Recruitment Tool

Overview: Jacksonville employers wanted a basecamp for professionals considering relocation to learn more about the area. As an answer, JAXUSA Partnership, a division of the JAX Chamber and Northeast Florida’s economic development organization, created a fresh, vibrant web presence. Through collaboration between public relations and human resources executives at local companies, as well as creative agency, Burdette Ketchum, JAXUSA was able to build a tool that provides a wealth of inspiration and resources for a variety of demographics. As a result, is the perfect place for recruiters to direct prospective employees to learn more about the region with easy-to-navigate links to all arms of the community including tourism sites, job boards, neighborhood chambers and school districts.

Launch Date: launched in early December 2015

Budget: $8,500 to $9,000 for the website portal. This does not include the internal resources that JAXUSA Partnership put toward the development of the website.

What DCI Loves About the Campaign                                                    

A Streamlined, User-Friendly Platform:
A Google search for “relocating to Jacksonville” used to turn up endless negative search results, leading to an information overload for jobseekers. To remedy this, JAXUSA compiled all of the information anyone considering a move to the area might need into one user-friendly platform— The feat of compiling personalized testimonials, rankings, information on healthcare, community, job postings and so on, into one resource improved SEO (search engine optimization) and, more importantly, the user experience.

Facilitating Company Recruitment Efforts: In developing the campaign, JAXUSA’s main goal was to provide support and tools for regional companies looking to attract talent. These tools include collateral about Jacksonville’s quality of life assets that companies can give to prospective employees and ready-to-use language on the region to include in job descriptions. If by the end of 2016, the campaign has at least 10 companies using the portal in their recruitment efforts, JAXUSA will consider it a success.

A Branded Hashtag That Feels the Love: A community’s ability to tell its story is paramount to its success in marketing itself to the world. That’s why JAXUSA Partnership launched #ilovejax—an initiative that invites locals to share their love for the region on social media. The hashtag matches the campaign’s playful and personalized feel and provides a platform for great user-generated content.

Locals Tell It Like It Is: features fun, authentic testimonials from locals who have relocated to the region to live and work. These personality-filled profiles allow real locals to share their own experiences of how they “found their JAX,” rather than JAXUSA telling people why they should live in Jacksonville, giving insight into their passion for the city along with their favorite spots and tips for newcomers.

The Interview

DCI spoke with Gabrielle Zurita, Senior Director of Marketing for JAXUSA Partnership, on February 29, 2016 to gather additional insight on the campaign.

DCI: What’s innovative or unique about your campaign compared to others across the country?

Zurita: I think it’s the way we have the authenticity seep through the website as well as the imagery. It’s not just about the resources—we’ve made it about the people who chose to live here and why they chose to live here. We use a lot of imagery to showcase the diversity of our people, neighborhoods and restaurants, so that when someone comes to the website they feel like they could belong here.

DCI: Why did you decide to create this campaign? 

Zurita: It was a recruitment tool that we created for companies. We heard from companies that when it came to recruiting talent, they didn’t have a one-stop shop where they could send people to learn about Jacksonville. People would Google Jacksonville when they were talking to companies and would get all these negative results. Companies were having a hard time getting people to move here. We decided it was our job to create this missing resource.

DCI: Is your campaign working? How do you measure success?

Zurita: I think so. We’re getting a lot of anecdotal information from companies that they are excited about the resource. In addition, we’ve set up Google Analytics and have made a goal to have at least 10 companies using this resource, so we’re going to measure company adoption.

DCI: What advice or lessons learned can you share with other cities and regions looking to start new talent attraction campaigns, or update existing campaigns? 

Zurita: I think my advice to other EDOs would be to just do something. Planning is good, but too much planning derails the process.


What takeaways from the FindYourJax website inspire your company recruitment assistance and talent attraction goals? Let us know in a comment below or tweet us @aboutdci.

Written By

Karleen Lewis

Karleen joined DCI’s digital team and Economic Development Division in 2015. As a Account Manager and self-described “digital detective,” she lends support to DCI’s digital marketing as well has contributed to client digital projects for Colorado Springs, Northern Colorado and the State of Colorado.

More Articles by Karleen Lewis

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