Ad campaign aims to shine light on Southwest Florida

— A new branding campaign is shining a light on Southwest Florida.

A Web site — ABrighterPlace.com — launched on Oct. 1. Signage is up at Southwest Florida International Airport and there’s more marketing to come for the new regional brand.

The brand is designed to bring new business to the region. It is built around a simple positioning statement: Southwest Florida — A brighter place to do business.

Joe Bouch, president of Chisano Marketing Group, which was hired to develop the new brand for the six-county region that includes Lee, Collier and Charlotte, gave an update about marketing efforts at an investor meeting the Economic Development Council of Collier County hosted Tuesday.

The meeting was held in the community room at the new Naples News Media Group headquarters off Immokalee Road. About 60 business and community leaders attended.

“This has been an exciting time for Southwest Florida. It really has,” Bouch said.

He said getting economic development leaders from six counties to cooperate and agree on a brand wasn’t easy. Ideas for a positioning statement covered the walls as the players worked to hash it out, Bouch said.

“We beat on it and beat on it and beat on it,” he said.

The word brighter refers to the quality of life and the region’s intellectual capital, including an impressive group of former CEOs and successful business owners who have retired here. The word place suggests a sense of belonging.

The words “do business” are key because growing businesses is what the campaign is all about, Bouch said. “It’s our call to action,” he said.

In the slogan, the words Southwest Florida are written in two colors — blue and green — to represent both the coastal and rural communities in the region. Blue is for water and green is for less developed, more protected areas. The logo is a sun that pulsates and comes to life on the new Web site.

At the airport, 11 signs bring home the message of the brand with statements such as, “A lot of businesses are landing here too,” and “Your business could be taking off here too.”

Soon, there will be what Bouch describes as “guerilla” signs in the windows of retail shops, restaurants and golf shops across town. “We’re going to put them everywhere,” he said.

The window signs will carry messages like, “You could be on your lunch-hour, not your vacation,” or “While you’re at it shop around for a business here too.”

Brochures will be handed out. Print and online advertising is planned in the region and elsewhere in Florida to help drive more people to the Web site.

A newsletter will be published regularly and press kits will soon be sent out to writers and editors to generate publicity about the brand.

The big marketing push will begin in January, Bouch said.

Over the next two years, the six counties have agreed to spend more than $500,000 on the campaign in hopes of bringing more high-wage jobs to the region. That’s on top of the cost of developing the brand, which came in at about $30,000.

“I think the fun part for us is the guerilla marketing, which is new for our organization,” said Tammie Nemecek, president and CEO of Collier County’s Economic Development Council. “It plays well into our tourism marketing.”

Collier County will get 600 window signs. The other counties will get the same number.

Most of the marketing will be done in the state because the budget is limited. The goal is to reach tourists and other visitors, who might consider moving their business to Southwest Florida after coming here for a vacation, a business trip or to see family or friends.

The hope is to raise more money to extend marketing outside of the state. County governments are helping to pay for the campaign, with support from the business community including Fifth-Third Bank.

Jan Kantor, president and owner of Success Systems, a Naples-based business consultant and a Naples Daily News columnist, liked what he saw at the meeting.

“It’s terrific,” he said of the brand campaign. He said it’s refreshing to see a united economic development effort in the region because “we need each other’s help.”

For the campaign to be successful, local businesses will have to get involved, passing out brochures, putting signs in their windows and offering testimonials about their business success in Southwest Florida on the new Web site, Bouch said.

“This will not work without the collaboration of the businesses that are here,” he said.

Connect with Laura Layden at www.naplesnews.com/staff/laura_layden.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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