Regional marketing to begin
New slogan helps promote best attributes of midstate
Thursday, May 27, 2004
BY ELLEN LYON
Of The Patriot-News
Think "Where's the Beef," "Like a Rock" or "King of Beers."
Now think of a catchy slogan to promote south-central Pennsylvania, which includes 1.7 million people living in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York counties.
How about "The Smart Market."
That's the slogan Southcentral Team Pennsylvania dramatically unveiled yesterday in the darkened Sunoco Performance Theater at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg as a shower of green and blue balloons descended from the ceiling.
What's so smart about this region?
To start with, answers David Schankweiler, president and CEO of Journal Publications, the region has more than 20 colleges and universities and a superior highway and rail infrastructure.
"This is a very exciting region. We need to believe that first and then shout it to the world," Schankweiler said at the unveiling.
To do that, Southcentral Team Pennsylvania, which is a public-private partnership devoted to the region's economic development, has about $90,000 left from $150,000 in a state grant and matching funds, said David Black, president and CEO of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber.
"We want to target some specific industries and go after them," Black said.
The first opportunity to do that with the new slogan and logo will be at a biotechnology show in San Francisco June 5-10, Black said. The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center attracts biotechnology companies to the region, he noted.
Other targeted industries include technology services and advanced manufacturing. "All the [region's] counties have core strengths in those," he said.
The team also will be looking for additional funding to support the marketing effort.
To develop the region's first brand name, Southcentral Team Pennsylvania hired the Harrisburg marketing agency Sacunas & Saline.
The firm researched branding efforts in other parts of the country, conducted focus groups and interviewed national site-selection specialists and local business and community leaders, according to Bob McNary, executive director of the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corp.
"I guess it's no surprise they found there was great economic diversity in the region," which presents a marketing challenge, he said.
When companies search for a site, they don't care about municipal boundaries, McNary noted. Instead, they care about factors such as the work force, transportation systems, utilities, research and educational opportunities and business services.
Economic development officials in the eight counties said yesterday they will use "The Smart Market" concept while continuing their own marketing efforts.
The brand "presents a vision for this region to go out and promote itself," said Skip Memmi, deputy director of the Dauphin County Department of Community and Economic Development. "We will partner into this branding effort and also continue to do individually what is necessary to be successful."
W. Douglas Wendt, director of the Cumberland County Office of Economic Development, explained that "no single brand sells a region. A brand is a cornerstone for a strategy.
"The Smart Market gives us a brand that helps us have a common theme while we also are focusing on the distinctiveness of each county," Wendt said.
Memmi said that "in some respects, it is a friendly competition to promote each county, [but] without this region you don't bring in national concerns."
Black predicted the counties will rely on the regional brand for the more expensive national marketing efforts.