Partnership launches campaign to tell region’s story

October 1st, 2012

News Coverage:

Partnership launches campaign to tell region's story

RICK FARRANT - rfarrant@fwbusiness.com

Monday, Oct. 01, 2012 at 2:17pm

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has launched a video-focused website as the “cornerstone” of a broad marketing initiative to attract and retain talent in the region.

“We’re not going to apologize for being northeast Indiana any longer,” NEIRP President and CEO John Sampson declared after relating an apology he received in 2006 when he and his family moved here from Fishers. “We’re not going to say we’re sorry that people move here.

“We are essentially creating a new story written about northeast Indiana,” he said. “This story about northeast Indiana is what we want the world to understand. This is not the northeast Indiana, not the place people remember 15 or 20 years ago. This is a new community, a new quality of life.”

Sampson made the remarks Monday during an unveiling of the “Your Story. Made Here.” marketing initiative at Joseph Decuis restaurant in Roanoke, so chosen because the upscale dining spot is the subject of one of the website’s videos.

The website, www.yourstorymadehere.com, features 13 partnership-produced videos detailing a variety of regional amenities, including: downtown Fort Wayne; Shipshewana; the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo; the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival; the Fort Wayne Philharmonic; Joseph Decuis’ farm-to-fork enterprise; and the region’s lakes, sports events and music scene.

Courtney Tritch, director of marketing for the partnership, said the site also includes a cost-of-living calculator and links to more information about the 10 northeast Indiana counties that make up the partnership.

Businesses and other organizations will be able to share a page or video from the website via Twitter, Facebook and other social media — something the partnership hopes happens regularly. NEIRP is offering complimentary "buttons" for businesses and organizations interested in linking to the new site.

The initiative also will include the local airing of four 30-second TV commercials, the first of which debuted Monday locally.

Besides the partnership, Tritch said, supporters of the campaign include: the Indiana Economic Development Corp.; WorkOne Northeast; Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne; Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast; the University of Saint Francis; Vera Bradley Inc.; and NiSource.

The thinking behind the website, Tritch and others associated with the venture said, is that people and businesses considering a move here look first online to gather information.

Angie Garcia, a Carson Boxberger LLP attorney and recent northeast Indiana transplant who helped with the development of the initiative, said she knows firsthand the challenges of recruiting employees to the area.

“A lot of our candidates are doing their homework. They are researching what the area has to offer online before we have the opportunity to meet them in person,” she said. “I think we are going to have an easier time winning these candidates over if they have a positive first impression of what northeast Indiana has to offer. And they’re going to get that (through) yourstorymadehere.com and watching these videos.

“We are happy to be living here now,” she said of she and her husband. “But I got to say, I think we would have embraced northeast Indiana as our new home sooner rather than later had we had the Made Here resources.”

Pete Eshelman, CEO of Joseph Decuis and founder of sports-entertainment insurer American Specialty Insurance & Risk Services Inc., is also sold on the NEIRP marketing initiative.

“I think,” he said, “if people understand the opportunities in northeast Indiana, they’ll come here, they’ll be successful and they’ll live great lives.”

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