Getting to Know DCI: 60+ Years of Business Evolution

December 15, 2023

DCI has created a legacy spanning more than six decades, and we’re proud of our economic development and tourism successes. They form the core of what DCI stands for as a purpose-driven placemaking agency.

But like any company around for more than a few years, business evolution is vital to making sure our legacy lives on and develops further.

I wanted to check in to highlight a few of our business evolutions in recent years, to make sure clients old and new understand that DCI is constantly adapting to hit the moving targets that destination marketing  presents daily. We are an agency that eagerly takes on any challenge that faces our clients and develops solutions. We’ll even add a whole new service if – or rather when – needed.

1. Advancing Talent Attraction Services

According to various data sets, 32.6 million Americans will work remotely by 2025 – and many of them will want to move away from traditional urban hubs to new, more affordable, more liveable destinations. With 50% of Americans looking for new employment opportunities, destinations are faced with the challenge of how to keep and attract highly skilled workers.

One of our newest initiatives is just that: building out our talent attraction practice. DCI has been evolving to offer talent attraction marketing for years. By formalizing our service, we are building on a solid foundation that dates back more than a dozen years when we launched a talent attraction campaign for Wake County, home of North Carolina’s famed Research Triangle Park.

Placemaking will always be at the heart of what we do, but we’re eager to enhance the way we do it as we evolve to help destinations attract investment, visitors, and invaluable workers who are looking for a big life change.

That includes hospitality workers. DCI’s 2023 study, Strengthening the Travel and Tourism Workforce, provides data-driven insight into what hospitality workers need, from upskilling opportunities to a sense of pride and community.

By creating digital advertising solutions and bespoke talent attraction websites, DCI’s team is always developing new, innovative ways to support our destination clients’ needs.

2. Expanding in to Hospitality

While so much of DCI’s work has focused on destinations, we have accumulated a vast amount of knowledge and experience with the hospitality industry – namely hotels – that we are putting to use thanks to several new senior-level hospitality marketing hires. 

We’re expanding to work with hotel brands, to help elevate them and achieve their goals. It’s a growing sector for us, but one that we know we can succeed in thanks to the work we’ve done promoting accommodations in our client destinations.

3. From A Canada Corporation To A European Start-up

DCI has been incorporated in Canada for more than ten years, a successful international move that allows us to employ Canadian employees who understand this nuanced market. Our presence there, plus our market-leading research into Canadian consumers, give us an edge in providing North American marketing guidance that no other agency can boast.

This year, DCI went overseas, joining OCO Global in Europe to launch C Studios in Europe. It’s our sister agency, built on DCI’s founding principles. We are no strangers to working with European destinations, but now we are developing an even greater presence on the continent. 

C Studios offers economic development agencies the full spectrum of digital marketing solutions to more effectively reach expanding companies, scaling enterprises and transitioning professionals. It’s an exciting time for us as we continue to add clients and services to our ever-evolving roster of work.

4. Elevating DEI On All Fronts

Not least among our evolutions in the past few years is an enhanced and more structured approach to diversity, equity and inclusion. DCI took the opportunity to reflect on our role in our country’s fight against racism through our work, and to champion equity and inclusion in our personal and professional lives. 

Part of our business evolution included the launch of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) initiative in 2020 aiming to close the opportunity divide and remove roadblocks for BIPOC to enter and grow in our agency. We’re aiming to match or exceed the U.S. Census in terms of racial and ethnic demographics by 2025. But more than just within our own internal hiring practices, we are spreading DEI messaging in all we do, from client media pitches and talent outreach to accessible website creation and partnerships with more diverse suppliers for our business event clients.

5. Engaging Consumers with Digital Advertising

In 2023, an estimated 67.4% of all ad spending is digital – but of course, our clients are already keyed into this. The evolution towards digital marketing required a push for some destinations, but at DCI, we imbue all of our work with a digital-first approach. We know that audiences aren’t just reading magazines, that online publications and social media require our marketing efforts as well.

Our in-house digital team gives our clients an edge. They generate digital solutions, whether it’s accessibility and optimization of web content or digital ad and paid content strategies, to ensure clients are meeting their audiences where they are.

We’re staying ahead of the curve and providing our destination clients with innovative solutions. DCI is an agency who is moving and evolving, while always remaining committed to our purpose.

Interested in working with a destination marketing agency who will help you anticipate what’s next? Get in touch with Karyl Leigh Barnes at [email protected] to learn more about how DCI can provide you with destination marketing solutions.

Written by

Andy Levine