Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development


Design and branding for Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development

Central Virginia’s economic development organization reintroduced the region to the world with a refreshed brand and marketing program to attract young talent.

A generic name, outdated brand, and diverse stakeholders in need of a reset

The Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development is the regional economic development organization for Charlottesville and the Counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, and Orange. The Partnership works to recruit new businesses to the area and support the efforts to retain and grow existing enterprises throughout the region.

[Map] The Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development serves Charlottesville and the Counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, and Orange.

The Partnership (the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development at the time) challenged The Ivy Group to unite the varied locales under a cohesive brand and bring stakeholders to consensus. Challenge accepted.

A new brand to differentiate and promote our region

The process of renaming and rebranding this organization engaged the Board in substantive conversations about the competitive environment, business recruitment priorities, and how best to position the region's assets in the larger marketplace.

Orchestrating this process involved deliberations about the brand personality and its aspirations. The team discusse the challenges of a name adopted by many communities across the nation and identified the key differentiating features of living and working in Central Virginia. The result was a strategic marketing plan, new brand, a lively color palette, and redesigned marketing materials within a templated design system that enabled staff to customize information to key prospects.

Former logo for Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development
Before
Logo design for Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development
After
Brochure design for Piedmont Workforce Network

On the heels of the Partnership’s rebranding project, we also facilitated a planning process to refresh the Piedmont Workforce Network logo, develop key messaging, and write and design key brochures: one for employers and one for job seekers. In addition, a series of PowerPoint and print templates allow the Workforce staff to customize collateral for the client they were visiting. As with our work with the Partnership, the process engaged members of the Workforce Investment Board and representatives from the participating municipalities and counties.

Talent acquisition marketing program fuels economic growth

Expanding the available talent pool is a critical component of continuing the region's vitality and growth. With this "people first" approach in mind, the Partnership once again teamed up with Ivy Group to build the promotional infrastructure in support of regional recruitment for future economic growth.

Research to recruit the right way

To identify talent acquisition audiences, we started by asking, "Within our regional workforce, who matches recruitment targets?"

Claritas Prizm Premier market segmentation had the answers, providing key demographics, lifestyle preferences, and media habits of target segments alongside handy mapping tools that locate target segments throughout the country. Thanks to segmentation, we knew our audience, how to craft creative that resonates with them, and where to place and target those ads to be seen by the right eyeballs.

The segmentation research provided the framework for a marketing program targeting talented, skilled, and qualified individuals to the local workforce. The proposed program, summarized in a marketing brief, included:

  • identification of target audiences;
  • value propositions;
  • aggressive strategy and action plan;
  • branding and messaging; and
  • next steps and estimated budget.

One great place to live, many messages

Key messaging positioned Central Virginia's many selling points to best appeal to the target audience. Messaging tailored to the audience highlights the professional scene, arts and culture, recreation, accessibility, civics, and socio-political environment of the region.

One good thing always leads to another

The campaign slogan, “One good thing always leads to another,” invites storytelling—establishing a narrative of how relationships, adventures, and experiences contribute to a distinctly Central Virginia quality of life that just keeps getting better and better as one remarkable experience flows into the next.

Every locale, every employer has a story to tell

The Partnership represents the diverse interests of many employers across numerous industries throughout multiple localities—what unites the Partnership is the shared sense of place, the investment in "Central Virginia". The campaign to recruit talent to the region needed a campaign mark that was flexible enough to represent the varied personalities of the Partnership members yet distinct enough to be recognizable.

Campaign logo for Central Virginia joint talent recruitment initiative
Campaign logo for Central Virginia joint talent recruitment initiative

The font and "techy" green pay tribute to the Partnership's branding. The dot of Virginia's "i" is an arrow, leading the viewer to the first step of their Central Virginia journey, where "one good thing always leads to another". Together, the forward arrow and slogan signal that contemporary Central Virginia is the impetus of all "good things" that follow.

A straightforward brand presentation lends itself to use in varied applications, and the promotional visuals are customizable for co-branding with Partnership locales and local employers.

Promotions are to focus on Central Virginia's quality of life within the context of a dynamic professional and technical ecosystem. Narrative vignettes highlight the unique and exciting features offered by local organizations and employers. This campaign framework provides an opportunity for businesses to make their case in ways that would appeal to prospective employees.

Digital ads will direct prospects to a branded, content-rich website

Ready to recruit: just hit start

Many young people are foregoing dense, urban centers in favor of college towns and smaller cities. Central Virginia can capitalize on this movement to attract a youthful, skilled workforce to an area that offers this group economic opportunity and improved quality of life. By promoting those dual assets, the Partnership and its members will raise the profile of Central Virginia as a cultural and business nexus and, ultimately, expand the local talent pool.

The plan is in place, the design is at the ready, and the preliminary budget is prepared. Once the Partnership secures funding for the campaign, all that's left to do is build the digital infrastructure and manage the promotional program. One good thing will lead to another!

Objectives

Unite the varied locales under a cohesive brand and bring stakeholders to consensus around a marketing plan to drive economic growth in Central Virginia.

Activities

Branding, graphic design, collateral development, consumer research, advertising strategy

Outcomes

  • Reintroduce Central Virginia as a thriving region and vital economic partner
  • Prepare to launch talent acquisition marketing program