‘Can Do’ gains traction | nnbusinessview.com

‘Can Do’ gains traction

Chuck Alvey

It’s been five months since a new regional business brand, “Greater Reno-Tahoe: Welcome to Can Do,” was launched to help communicate to out-of-market corporate decision makers and skilled professionals that Greater Reno-Tahoe is a hotbed for business and industry and offers a great place to live.

The brand is alive and well and receiving support from companies and organizations throughout the region. Companies are embracing “Greater Reno-Tahoe: Welcome to Can Do” by including it in their own marketing, such as Moana Nursery which references “Greater Reno-Tahoe” in its radio advertising. Blue Moon Advertising and Promotional Products promotes the “Can Do” logo and tagline on its promotional flyers; the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce is a brand ambassador by promoting the brand in its newsletter. ITS Logistics is in the process of wrapping its trucks with “Can Do” promotional messages, and Schneider Logistics promotes the brand as part of its recruitment efforts. Colliers International markets Greater Reno-Tahoe to prospective companies, and Becker General Contractors has included the “Can Do” logo and link on its Web site. Additionally, more than 1,000 comments have been posted to the Can Do blog at http://www.onegoodreason.org.

While a logo used to identify the brand is subjective people either like it or they don’t it’s heartening to hear the overwhelming response from businesses and residents throughout the region supporting the brand promise: For those with a nagging desire for balance in business and life, Greater Reno-Tahoe is the surprising, yet inspiring answer.

So where are we in branding our region as a top place to do business and to live? What will “Greater Reno-Tahoe: Welcome to Can Do” do for you as a business owner or as a community leader or resident?

First, EDAWN teamed with a public relations firm to help promote Greater-Reno Tahoe as a desirable place to do business by generating favorable media coverage in top tier media such as major national newspapers and broadcast news outlets and key target industry trade publications. This ongoing effort has resulted in multiple national news stories about our region’s diversification and growth in the clean energy industry.

Second, the No. 1 issue mentioned by prospective and existing companies is they struggle with finding skilled professionals to fill positions in this region. This is not a unique issue for our region: companies nationwide face the same challenge.

Armed with valuable research from a recent national survey of skilled professionals to determine what motivates professionals to relocate, how they choose where to live and what they think of Greater Reno-Tahoe as a place to live and work, it made the most sense for EDAWN to assist companies looking to recruit employees with a targeted marketing effort to first interest, then attract skilled professionals to our area.

EDAWN has developed marketing strategies to introduce the “Welcome to Can Do” brand to skilled professionals out-of-market to help convince them to consider moving here. Focusing on reaching these out-of-market skilled professionals, we know many are graduate students at universities and colleges in target metropolitan areas. Many are 30-plus, married and are receptive to the live/work balance Greater Reno-Tahoe offers. Backed by research showing where the regional business brand resonates the most and where the highest concentrations of occupations in the six key business sectors exist, a strategy is to market to graduate students on college campuses in these metro areas. These are skilled workers in the key business sectors EDAWN is pursuing for growth in the area: advanced logistics, advanced manufacturing, business and financial services, clean energy technology, life science and software.

There’s a plethora of ideas on the table for how to creatively reach these graduate students on campuses: from staking out a local coffeehouse and buying students lattes, to hosting Greater Reno-Tahoe job fairs with 10-15 of our regional employers, and guerrilla methods like Facebook, MySpace and other online media.

While strategies are one important part of an overall marketing campaign, it is by no means the complete program. EDAWN is looking for input and ideas from our key partners and economic supporters including RSCVA, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, other regional economic development organizations, the cities, counties, companies and others. Input from these organizations will assist with defining our out-of market plans but will also serve to help us create in-market brand programs to reach the more than five million visitors annually to our region.

Creating a regional marketing campaign to increase skilled professionals in our area is no small task and needs participation and commitment from the community. We’re in the process of meeting with companies in the region and human resource recruiting organizations that have expressed interest in partnering on this mission. We’re meeting with partners to ensure their involvement.

Our goal is to assemble at least five companies or organizations for the first campus campaign for a spring 2008 launch. That’s only a few months away, but based on the strong interest by companies, and the need to attract skilled professionals, we believe that goal can become a reality.

What’s in it for a company or organization to participate in this initial campus marketing campaign?

* More effective recruitment for a fractional investment since there are multiple participants.

* Qualified candidate leads.

* Complete results of the National Workforce Survey.

* Input on which campuses are chosen.

* Input on design of the campaign.

* First right of refusal for the next campus marketing campaign.

If you’re a company or organization that’s looking to improve your talent pool by participating in this Greater Reno-Tahoe marketing campaign, please let us know. We welcome your ideas and want to hear from you! Call Gail Conkey at 829-3720 for more information or to arrange a presentation. For more on Greater Reno-Tahoe: Welcome to Can Do, visit http://www.greaterrenotahoe.com.

EDAWN’s primary mission continues to be working to recruit, expand and start up quality companies that have a positive economic impact on the quality of life in Greater Reno-Tahoe. With your help, we can start the process of getting our region on these skilled professionals’ radar and help companies doing business here, or companies considering our region, find the best workers to fill the good-paying, skilled positions available.

Chuck Alvey is president and chief executive officer of EDAWN, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.


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