Lofty ideas

As economic agencies throughout northern Nevada fine-tune their efforts to development of new employment, their marketing effort needs a brand identity, says an economic-development consultant.

The challenge, say consultants with AngelouEconomics, is development of an over-arching brand identity that can be used by rural counties of northern Nevada as well as the urbanized area of Reno and Sparks.

The Texas-based consulting firm has devised economic-development strategies for the Reno-based Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada as well as the Northern Nevada Development Authority, the Carson City based organization that works in rural counties.

In both studies, AngelouEconomics said a brand identity is important in communicating a unified message to external audiences such as companies that are scouting the nation for locations.

"It's the essence of the community," Ben Loftsgaarden, a project manager with the consulting firm, told participants in EDAWN's economic summit last week.

The good brand identity, he said, needs to be both lofty and truthful.

Because outsiders look at northern Nevada as a unified region rather than a collection of counties or economic-development agency turfs, Loftsgaarden said it's critical to develop a region-wide brand identity.

Regionwide examples, he said, include the branding of San Francisco's South Bay region as "Silicon Valley" and more recent efforts in Austin to brand its business climate as "The Human Capital."

In Orlando, Fla., creation of a brand identity "Putting Imagination to Work" helped drive growth of technology-based industries while making a nod to the presence of nearby Walt Disney World.

The importance of the creation of a brand identity for business in northern Nevada, Loftsgaarden said, reflects the growing awareness that economic development is a matter of marketing a region to potential new employers and workers.

He cautioned the EDAWN audience that getting a brand identity rooted in the minds of a target audience can take years of patient work.


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