Can Nevada reap a second PR windfall?
Having turned a $550,000 investment of advertising into $11 million worth of publicity,Nevada economic development officials face a big task topping last year’s campaign to woo California companies to Nevada.
And the challenge is all the bigger this time around because last year’s California recall election a star-studded affair that drew media from around the world drew reporters’ attention to Nevada’s advertising.
But folks who work to attract new industry to Nevada hit the pavement hard throughout California in the weeks before the new campaign was rolled out last week, and reporters both in California and nationally were rising to the bait.
The new campaign themed “Walking Wounded” again hammers home the message that California business owners will continue to struggle unless they move to the happier climes of Nevada.
The campaign carries a $650,000 budget for the year up from last year’s $550,000.
But the key number that Nevada officials watch is the value of the publicity generated by the campaign.
“The leverage is in the media coverage.
That’s the real impact,” says Chuck Alvey, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Authority ofWestern Nevada, the Reno-based agency that’s one of five paying for the campaign.
(The others are Northern Nevada Development Authority, the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, Sierra Pacific Power and the Las Vegas-based Nevada Development Authority.) But Julie Ardito, who handles media relations for EDAWN, notes that interest in last year’s ad campaign the one titled “Worst Case Scenario” – was boosted by the media frenzy around the recall election.
Time and the Boston Globe were among the national publications to pay attention to last year’s campaign.
“This year, we’ll have to see what happens,” Ardito says.
There’s little doubt that last year’s campaign drew the attention of California business owners.
The number of requests for information from California business owners received by EDAWN totaled 176 in 2003 compared with 75 a year earlier.
Seven of the companies that located in Washoe County alone during the past year came from California, and the Carson City area saw an additional influx.
Alvey notes, however, that companies typically need at least a year to make a decision to move, and the full effects of last year’s campaign may not be known yet.
Even more important, he says have been the changes in perception that resulted from the campaign developed by KPS/3, a Reno marketing firm.
“Until two years ago, people in California didn’t think of this as a place to do business,” he says.
“The thing that I like most about entrepreneurship is I can work toward something that I’m passionate about and be at the forefront of the change that I want to see happen,” said Priyanka Senthil, a senior at Davidson Academy in Reno and co-founder of startup company AUesome.