On February 11th, a handful of Rutland-area business leaders, elected officials, and young professionals gathered at the Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC) offices to hear and give feedback on economic development marketing research presented by the Vermont Department of Economic Development (DED).
DED Commissioner Joan Goldstein and Chief Marketing Officer Heather Pelham co-presented the initial findings of research conducted by advertising consultants Dariel Curren of DCI Counsellors, Inc. and Ken Millman of Spike Advertising, who were both present at the meeting.
The goal of the project, which is funded by the state, is to create and begin implementing a three-year economic development marketing plan that can bring more people to Vermont to live, work, and invest.
The group’s initial research and discussion with businesses and communities around the state uncovered a number of strengths that could inform Vermont’s business marketing opportunities. A few examples are:
- Vermont has many success stories to tell about business here in the state, including Cabot, Vermont Country Store, Burton, Ben and Jerry’s, Westminster Crackers, Simon Pearce, and the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
- Vermont’s higher education community is robust and ready to create stronger connections with the business community. The Rutland Economic Development Corporation’s innovative partnership with Castleton University is an example of this strategy.
- Vermont residents pride themselves on their distinctive approach to life and work: Vermonters are persistent, innovative, non-conforming.
- Vermont already has many job openings and other opportunities to offer younger workers in the 28-35 year-old age range, and there are a number of people currently living out of state who are invested in the state and who might be convinced to build careers here.
The presentation also included more good news for Vermont: the stories in national media coverage of Vermont are largely positive, according to a top-tier media audit by DCI Counsellors, Inc. that analyzed how national publications (e.g. Time Magazine) covered Vermont issues in 2015. Although the analysis uncovered some negative business coverage, largely due to Vermont’s poor state rankings on issues such as tax rates, top-tier coverage is more positive than local discussions of the same topics. Stories featuring entrepreneurs and start-ups are Vermont’s key media successes. Tech is Vermont’s “sweet spot” when it comes to coverage nationally. The technology sector is the single most popular topic in top-tier coverage of Vermont; the coverage is 100% positive.
To read more about the State of Vermont’s economic development marketing plans, visit www.thinkvermont.com.