Alliance News June 24, 2021

Charlotte Regional Business Alliance takes new approach with $750K recruiting pitch

“I describe Charlotte’s vibe as ‘right now.’”

So says Chris Moxley, co-owner of Charlotte apparel company 704 Shop. He’s one of five local business leaders featured in a $750,000 economic development marketing campaign that debuted this week. 

With the leadership of Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Chief Marketing Officer, Rob Horton, and local ad agency Wray Ward, the digital ad series was created with an emphasis on peer-to-peer testimonials. The $750,000 budget covers both creative and placement costs.

Moxley’s video vignette focuses on entrepreneurial opportunity. Other voices featured in separate clips include Seemantini Godbole, Lowe’s chief information officer, on tech and talent; Atrium Health CEO Gene Woods on excellence and economic ecosystems; Arrival CEO Mike Ableson on advanced manufacturing and vision; and Truist CEO Kelly King on innovation and values.

“We found in our research a sea of sameness in economic development,” said Vivian Mize, vice president and creative director at Wray Ward. 

Testimonials and influencers are prominent in marketing but have not been used as much in economic development, she added. CLT Alliance and Wray Ward liked the idea of using authentic voices to share stories of how business leaders here, along with CLT Alliance itself, can connect people and help them build their businesses and careers.

The tagline for the ads is, “Better All Together. Altogether Better.”

The ads were produced in varying lengths and formats, primarily digital and online with targeted placements on LinkedIn and social media as well as audio versions for podcasts. The latter will include 15-second versions of the executive vignettes.

Initially, the campaign will target corporate decision-makers, site selectors and real estate executives in six markets: New York/New Jersey, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Montreal and Toronto.

CLT Alliance and Wray Ward said more local business leaders will be featured in updated and expanded versions of the campaign in future months.

The idea is to eventually spotlight all major business sectors. Diversity — race, gender, business type — runs throughout the ads, from which companies and executives are featured to underlying video montages showing off everything from area college campuses to offices and production lines to people in parks and on the Rail Trail in South End.   

In the spot featuring Woods, the Atrium Health executive, he discusses the 20-acre medical school and innovation district planned for midtown. Atrium Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and the Wake Forest School of Medicine developed the project as part of a larger strategic combination.

Woods does some recruiting in his segment by mentioning Fortune 100 companies interested in the innovation corridor as well as the prospect of scientists and clinicians exploring medical advances. And he presses the message of inclusivity and business leaders with an eye on tackling social issues including access to Pre-K learning, economic mobility and helping vulnerable communities.

Mize said, “Who better to tell the stories of why they came here? We infused storytelling into every single touch point.”

Janet LaBar, CLT Alliance President & CEO, said the highly targeted approach afforded by digital advertising appealed to economic development stakeholders.

“We can really be strategic in how we’re generating the leads versus some random ad showing up in a magazine — this is so much smarter,” she said. “There are a lot of things that you can start to understand and unpack to start the conversation with, hey, have you ever thought about Charlotte?”

LaBar mentioned research and data available on leases, expansions and other moves by companies that could kickstart recruiting discussions. As for the ad campaign, she said the ability to track interest and responses will allow CLT Alliance to make tweaks or shift course as needed.

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Copyright: Erik Spanberg  –  Managing Editor, Charlotte Business Journal