Northeast Ohio’s First Integrated Regional Marketing Campaign Continues to Help Attract Businesses, Talent and More
On April 26, 2007, the Cleveland Plus campaign took flight – literally. Launched aboard a commercial plane that circled above our region’s 18 counties, the Cleveland Plus campaign represents Northeast Ohio’s first regional marketing campaign, which unites the business attraction and retention strengths under a single identity. With a focus on branding, international media relations, direct marketing to business decision makers, talent recruitment and in-region communications, the Cleveland Plus campaign has helped position Northeast Ohio as an ideal place to do business, work, live and play. Now in its 10th year, the campaign continues to promote the region’s innumerable strengths as it works to “pass the plus” to audiences across the world.
Development of the Cleveland Plus Brand
The creation of the Cleveland Plus brand was a truly collaborative process, involving hundreds of community members across Northeast Ohio. The process was first initiated in 2004, when the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) created a task force to develop a model for marketing the region. Building on the work of the task force, Rick Batyko was brought on in January, 2006, to help bring the task force’s ideas to life.
Over the next year, a number of community advisory groups would be formed, with their input proving crucial to what eventually would become the Cleveland Plus brand. Groups that provided input into the brand’s development included:
- The Council of Regional Marketers – a group of 200+ marketers from across the region, representing all industry sectors
- The Media Relations Advisory Committee – an assembly of 14 media relations specialists
- The In-Region Marketing Committee – a collaborative of 16 public relations professionals
- The Young Professional Advisory Committee – more than 20 young professionals representing Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Youngstown
Why Cleveland Plus?
Through extensive research, including interviews with travelers, residents, business and civic leaders, site selectors and more, “Cleveland Plus” was chosen as the brand name for a variety of reasons. While Cleveland is often the name people across the world recognize, by combining the collective strengths of our entire region, we are much more competitive. As a region, Northeast Ohio represents the 15th largest market in the U.S. while the Cleveland MSA alone is only the 31st largest. When businesses look to make investment decisions, they look at the entire region, knowing that employees come from a 60-mile radius. As such, Cleveland Plus seeks to embody all that our region has to offer.
Cleveland Plus is 18 counties, the metro areas of Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Youngstown, more than four million people and 6,000+ square miles. It is exciting and forward-thinking, but also familiar and comfortable. There is an abundance of offerings in business, arts and culture, sports and recreation, education and more. Everyone and everything is a plus in Cleveland Plus.
Impact of Cleveland Plus
Since its official launch in 2007, the Cleveland Plus campaign has served as an integral component in our region’s efforts to attract new businesses, talent and positive media coverage. While many factors influence these activities, Cleveland Plus functions as an essential piece of a larger machine, supporting the machine’s overall output.
Through its various activities, the Cleveland Plus campaign has:
- Helped the economic development network in Northeast Ohio attract 10,000+ new jobs, which have added more than $450 million in new payroll
- Built a media relations program that has garnered more than 800 media placements in target media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times and Forbes.com
- Assisted recruiters in attracting talent to our region with a variety of online tools such as a talent attraction web portal, blogs and social media channels
- Developed an in-region communications program that promotes Northeast Ohio’s good news and information to residents, reaching more than 375,000 people each month
While much has changed across our region over the last 10 years, the guiding principle that built the campaign still holds true: our region is stronger together. Thank you for being a “plus” in Cleveland Plus.