News & Views

Talent Attraction Spotlight: Chattanooga, Tennessee


As cities and regions across the country vie for talent, we are featuring economic development organizations implementing creative talent attraction marketing efforts as part of our Talent Attraction Spotlight blog series. This week, we are kicking off with Chattanooga Calling.


Talent Program at a Glance:

Duration: 2020 – Present 

Budget: $150k

The Chattanooga Area Chamber launched a talent attraction initiative, Chattanooga Calling, in 2020. This campaign had two primary phases, each with a different audience in mind. The focus of the first phase was to connect current residents in the region who were displaced due to COVID-19 with local jobs and reskilling programs. The second phase targeted external talent, placing more emphasis on lifestyle assets and the remote worker. The campaign includes elements such as: 

  • A robust talent attraction website (Chattanooga Calling) equipped with a jobs board, community quiz, cost of living calculator, curated list of Airbnbs for remote workers, upskilling resources, lifestyle assets and more. 
  • Targeted digital advertising 
  • Media relations program 
  • A “Business /Casual Pass,” or passport for remote workers featuring discounts at local shops, restaurants, coworking spaces and more for the remote worker’s “workcation.”
  • A curated list of Airbnbs with access to the Gig internet for remote workers

Key Partnerships & Players:

  • Chattanooga Tourism Co.: Worked with the Chamber on the curation of the Airbnbs with Gig internet access, as well as looping in local businesses for the Business Casual Pass. 
  • The Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB): Worked with the Chamber and Tourism Co. to help curate the list of Airbnbs with access to the fastest internet in the world. 
  • Development Counsellors International 

Why It Works: 

  • Clear Target Audience(s): When launching their talent program, Chattanooga wanted to reach two main audiences: 1) local job-seekers who had been displaced due to the pandemic and 2) external talent in target markets. Digital ads and copy were tailored to each audience, with jobs and upskilling being the focus for locals, and jobs and lifestyle/place-based messaging being the focus for external talent. 
  • Collaborative Community: The Chattanooga Chamber worked closely with community partners and stakeholders such as the Chattanooga Tourism Co. (for the Business Casual Pass and list of Airbnbs on the Gig) and the EPB. As the campaign goes on, community leaders and members continue to join in and leverage the Chamber’s resources and talent marketing tactics. 
  • Smart Digital Advertising: When the pandemic hit and city-dwellers began opting for places with more room to spread out and a lower cost of living, Chattanooga seized the opportunity to market directly to talent in large, external metros such as New York City and the Bay Area. Locally, the Chamber launched paid social ads utilizing video to share training opportunities in their key industries such as IT, healthcare and advanced manufacturing.
  • Out-of-the-Box Thinking: The Business/Casual Pass and initiative to go after remote workers, offering them to try Chattanooga on a “workcation” is a prime example of capitalizing on a talent trend in a new, creative way.

Written By

Heather Gantz

Heather Gantz is a Senior Account Executive specializing in talent marketing at DCI. With a background in journalism, Heather is passionate about quality and compelling storytelling. Since joining DCI in 2020, she has enjoyed working with clients including Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, Greater New Orleans, Inc., and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance.

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