By: Beth Kirkland, CeCD, Executive Director, Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County, Inc.
What is a brand? Many people think it is a logo like the Nike swoosh or the Apple apple. While the visual representation of a company is certainly part of the equation, a brand is much more about what others think of you than an icon around your company name. Your brand is your emotional connection to your customers. It is your unique value proposition. It’s what makes you different than the competition and why that matters to people. It’s your story.
Branding is most often associated with businesses or even individual people, but today states, regions and communities are working hard to brand themselves to communicate their strengths, unique offerings and a feel for what it’s like to work and live there.
Enterprise Florida, Florida’s lead organization for statewide economic development, is currently in the process of developing a branding campaign for Florida as it continues its efforts to enhance Florida’s business climate and ensure the state’s global competiveness.
Similar to what Visit Florida has done for Florida tourism, Enterprise Florida is defining what it means to do business in Florida for the companies across the country and around the world considering Florida for a significant business partnership.
Closer to home, Florida’s Capital Region is a brand built on assets that include a commercial transportation hub, an incubator of world-class talent and a facilitator of cutting-edge research for global commerce.
Regular attendance at trade shows and meetings with influential site consultants communicate our strengths, such as our major transportation corridors that make us a one-day truck haul from virtually all primary Southeast markets and ports, the scientists and experts from 50 countries who use the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, our 24,000-square-foot Advanced Manufacturing Training Center, our expanding regional airport and the 200 acres of Innovation Park that helps commercialize technology and promote corporate synergy.
The region’s six targeted industry sectors are attracting high-growth, high-wage jobs to the region — Renewable Energy and the Environment, Aviation, Aerospace and Defense, Health Sciences and Human Enhancement, Transportation and Logistics, Information Technology, and Research and Engineering.
Add in quality-of-life components such as 3,540 acres of park lands, emerging live/work/play districts such as Midtown and Southwood, and the world’s most beautiful beaches and fresh Gulf seafood just a short drive away, and you can see why our region has such a compelling story to tell.
And that story is being heard. In the last two years, Tallahassee has been recognized by leading organizations and publications as a best choice for retiring baby boomers, an international innovation leader, a top-25 midsized city for job growth and a leading location for development. Most recently, Tallahassee was named a top-10 city for Millennials, an important generation to prospective employers.
So as our region builds it brand, we want to know more about yours. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell us about what makes your company special. And if you’re not sure yet, this is a great time to take a look.