When courting a prospective business, it’s not uncommon to take key decision-makers out to dinner or lunch, or maybe even to a sporting or cultural event to showcase some of the intangible benefits of your location. All good stuff.
But how about actually involving some of your locals more deeply into the process, creating a broader circle of brand advocates?
Let’s say, for example, that there are several great chefs, or possibly “celebrity” chefs in your area. Why not create a custom meal where each chef features his or her signature dish, and then speaks briefly about his or her decision to locate their business in your area? They can provide a firsthand account of what it is like to serve the business community and the community at large.
Of course, it would be a good idea to prep these people in advance on the specifics of your area and your local economic development brand. Because once you do, you have grown the circle of people who can speak intelligently about the area, and your local economic development brand, and who know keywords and phrases to use the next time another key site selector or commercial broker happens to bring in a scouting team to visit the area.
Here are some other ideas for non-traditional brand advocates and ways in which they can help to promote your area and attract more business.
Deans, Professors, Teachers
If you are promoting your stellar local school system, community colleges or four-year universities and grad schools, invite a principal, dean, professor or teacher to speak about unique aspects of their institution and its importance to the community. Better yet, schedule a meal on of one of the campuses, perhaps prepared by one of the chefs above (killing two birds with one stone) and have the speakers address the talent pipeline and the ways that their institution prepares students for the workforce.
Actors and Directors
They are real people, too. They can speak without scripts and can be great advocates for your area. Ask them to develop a comedy sketch on what it’s like to live and work your area. Have them speak to youth and/or adult acting classes they may hold, to help inspire creativity at all ages and inspire business talent as well.
Residential brokers love to talk about the local real estate market and many will jump at the chance to give a market overview so that company executives can see what their dollars will buy. If there’s time – perhaps they can even schedule local bus tours of on-market homes.
Need I say anymore? If you can grab one of them for a meeting, it’s quite effective. Or if you are attending a sporting event, get in touch with the PR office and have a short 10-minute meeting with some of the key players.
Prominent Physicians and Hospital CEOs
Healthcare is a huge part of our economy. As more ailments come to light, having a prominent physician or hospital CEO speak to the advances in their local technology can be of true interest to a prospective company. Concierge medicine could be another topic of interest, especially for busy executives who are looking for on-demand, personalized care.
There are many more examples, but these are just some of the ways you can make a site visit to your area more meaningful and memorable—and boost you to the top of the decision-making pile.
For more creative ideas on how to market your area and brand, contact CBD Marketing.