Creating a Stronger Business Brand for Orlando
Orlando is well known, but poorly understood. Thanks to our region’s strong tourism and convention industries, people around the world know Orlando as the “happiest place on Earth.” Or at least they think they do.
They probably don’t know Orlando is the third-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country. Or that it was named among the top 10 places to start a business by Entrepreneur magazine. They also might not know Orlando is home to one of the nation’s emerging life sciences industries, and it boasts the world’s largest cluster of modeling, simulation and training companies.
CNNMoney recently included Orlando in its roundup of the country’s fastest-growing cities. The article said “while nearly one-third of the area’s jobs are tied to the tourism industry, other industries are expanding here too, mainly tech.”
What this means is a majority of Orlando’s workforce is skilled in other areas – from gaming and digital media to advanced manufacturing and engineering, and we have an abundant pipeline of talent ready to tackle the jobs of the future in a world of evolving technologies.
While our foundation and regional pride are strongly rooted in Orlando’s international recognition for tourism, it’s time for people to learn about our other strengths and successes. That’s why we are launching a stronger business brand for Orlando.
The Case for Orlando
With a mission to aggressively attract, retain and grow jobs for our region, the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) routinely works with local business leaders and out-of-area consultants helping companies expand or relocate.
What we’ve found is Orlando only makes it onto the “short list” for consideration as a business location about one-third of the time because decision-makers are not as familiar with the breadth of resources and talent here. Another one-third of the time, we’re not even considered because of what people don’t know about Orlando.It’s time to change that.
The EDC designed the Regional Branding Initiative to measure current perceptions of business targets – both in- and out-of-market – and develop a strategic campaign to get Orlando into the consideration set for business location decisions.
Research revealed that out-of-area business executives and site selectors (business consultants who help companies make decisions about 50 percent of the time) have limited to no negative perceptions of Orlando. They simply don’t know enough about the area. Even residents surveyed reported that their knowledge of Orlando is limited to what they see and touch every day.
On behalf of the EDC, Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney, is leading a team of branding experts throughout the region to fully develop and implement an impactful branding campaign that promotes Orlando’s advantages as a business location.
With the help of these thought leaders and local creative talent, we’ve launched a new regional business brand platform, “Orlando. You don’t know the half of it.” We think it perfectly conveys the message for our region. There is so much more to know and love about Orlando than out-of-state business executives, and even long-time residents, may realize.
In economic development, we have a saying that what gets measured, gets done. As we begin rolling out the campaign through targeted advertising, a new website, business development missions to other cities and more, we want to track our successes.
Change does not happen overnight. But with continued support from our public and private partners, we will have the resources to fund this campaign over the next three years.
In addition to creating more and better jobs, we project nearly $1 billion in added payroll from EDC projects over the next decade with this branding campaign. Put another way, we’re projecting for every $1 invested in branding, an additional $162 will be returned in local payroll income from EDC projects.
If the EDC’s recent trip to New York to meet with companies and media is any indication of our long-term success, then we’re moving in the right direction. Not only did more than a dozen site selectors applaud the campaign, but several national media outlets told us they “get it.”
If we can be that successful on the road, just imagine the kind of impact we can make in our own community.
For more on the campaign, visit OrlandoEDC.com/branding
Rick L. Weddle is the president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission, OrlandoEDC.com