I think the last time the Blade did an article on the Toledo Region Branding initiative was in February. Nice to see an update in the paper today: Local firm revising efforts to market the Toledo region. My thoughts:
- It is good to see an overall update to the messaging and the logo. Evolution is good. Looking forward to the next iteration.
- The New Manufacturing Economy aspect is still a good message, but for a specific audience (business leaders in this manufacturing space). There are business leaders in other industries, and other purposes, like talent attraction, that need different messages. It is still 1 Toledo region brand, just different messages for different audiences.
- Those quality of life audiences are important, and I am not sure any existing groups are serving them for the region. The traditional ED audiences like site selectors were already being covered well by RGP and other players, so I think this focus will demonstrate the value add of the branding initiative.
- I really like the notion of having the branding system used by local companies in their talent attraction efforts. It is more complicated than just links to the toledoregion.com web site, however. For a good experience, the “region” content will need to be syndicated to the local company web sites or other sites where the users are at. Social sites like Facebook but also maybe LinkedIn (where professionals hang out), city-data, not sure where else people are going online to evaluate where they want to live. The net is that it takes a solid information architecture and content strategy to get the content where the users are, instead of relying on a single site.
And, for sure, more money is needed to make this all happen. Grass roots efforts are nice, but, to be competitive, you have to develop content and other assets, and that takes money.