John H. "Jack" Boyd, founder, The Boyd Co., Inc.
Since the founding of our site selection firm in the mid-70s, competition among cities, and states for new corporate investment and jobs has become big business, a multi-billion dollar global industry in and of itself. Today, politicians on the right and left all run on the platform of new jobs. In the U.S, 50 state economic development agencies with their war chests and foot soldiers compete at a level that can only be described as The Second War Between the States.
Willy Loman would never believe it, but a new breed of salesmen are roaming the country and the world selling land, labor, tax incentives and even the ill-defined "business climate" and "quality-of-life". With only a relative handful of corporate relocations each year compared to the tens of thousands of competing developers and economic development agencies, battles are fierce, budgets are big and marketing campaigns are smooth and sophisticated -- with the adoption of modern Madison Avenue promotion techniques a growing trend among economic development groups, large and small.
The I Love New York campaign resurrected the city's tourist industry and helped to stem the outflow of industry and jobs from the state during the difficult 70's
In 1977, William S. Doyle, Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Commerce, set in motion the modern era of economic development promotion with the state’s iconic I Love New York campaign developed by Wells, Rich & Greene, the Madison Avenue ad agency founded by the charismatic, Advertising Hall of Famer, Mary Wells Lawrence. Her agency’s creative work for clients like Braniff Airlines, Proctor & Gamble and Miles Laboratories’ Alka-Seltzer brand became a mainstay of advertising’s golden age.
Wells, Rich & Greene, the legendary ad agency behind the I Love New York campaign
TV spots and media placements of the I Love New York campaign were run in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and other Sunbelt cities that were attracting companies from New York and the Northeast, most notably American Airlines and its high profile relocation of its corporate headquarters from New York City to Dallas, an ominous move that ushered in a new era of corporate head office migration from New York.
I Love New York Disco Version
The groundbreaking I Love New York campaign has been credited with resurrecting New York City 's fortunes as a tourist destination, which had been devastated after the city's fiscal crisis and racial unrest of the mid-1970s. The logo itself has gone on to become a cultural icon, instantly recognized around the world and adopted for numerous purposes, licensed an unlicensed.
The epic campaign had many promotional spin-offs ranging from T-shirts to coffee mugs to the disco recording of I Love New York. Another version is now the state song of New York.
Kansas City's Prime Time development promotion program became a model for other cities
Another major break in the longstanding partnership between economic development organizations and traditional advertising came not from Manhattan but from the nation’s Heartland: Kansas City, MO. A perfect storm of purpose, leadership and business savvy came together in Kansas City in the mid-1970’s with the goal of changing the city’s former cow town image to a modern corporate mecca in the nation’s mid-section.
Kansas City’s town fathers were led by Mayor Charles Wheeler and a remarkable A-list of business titans: Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, Don Hall, Chairman of Hallmark Cards, Henry Bloch, Founder of H&R Block, Ewing Kaufmann, Owner of the Kansas City Royals and Miller Nichols, developer of Kansas City’s famed Country Club Plaza. I still have an autographed copy of a wonderful coffee table pictorial of Kansas City in the 70’s published by Hallmark and signed by Kansas City’s most famous mayor, Charles Wheeler (both a J.D. and M.D.).
Author, humorist and Kansas City native Calvin Trillin
This impressive group of Kansas City town fathers knew the value of target industry research and public relations from their own businesses and fashioned what many consider a classic in the economic field of development promotion: Kansas City’s Prime Time program. They did so with the assistance of Carl Byoir Associates, a top New York PR firm, and Kansas City target industry research from The Boyd Company of Princeton , NJ , commissioned by the State of Missouri. Newspapers throughout the country and magazines like National Geographic, Newsweek and the Saturday Evening Post wrote about the transformation of Kansas City anchored by its new Crown Center complex, new twin sports stadiums and airport, the city’s landing a national political convention – in addition to economic and location advantages documented by The Boyd Company.
Calvin Trillin once named Arthur Bryant's Barbeque "the single best restaurant in the world"
Lighter stories featured humorist and Kansas City native Calvin Trillin's penchant for Kansas City's famous Winstead's Hamburgers and Arthur Bryant's Barbeque Ribs. In an essay in The New Yorker, Trillin wrote that "Arthur Bryant's is the best damn restaurant in the world." Throughout the country, other cities looked at Prime Time's trend-setting public/private partnership model, its third-party target industry research approach and national media successes as a model for their economic development promotion programs.
Las Vegas "What Happens Here, Stays Here" promotion campaign has become a cultural phenomenon
Another high profile economic development promotion program is the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's What Happens Here, Stays Here campaign created by R&R Partners, the award-winning public relations agency based in Las Vegas. The mastermind agency is led by the incomparable Billy Vassiliadis, aptly described by The New York Times as follows: "Every dream needs a merchant, every myth a mythmaker. In Las Vegas , that job falls to Billy Vassiliadis."
R&R Partners CEO Billy Vassiliadis. His credo, asimple one: “Build the brand, protect the brand.”
R&R Partners was named Grand Marketers of the Year by Brandweek for their groundbreaking work on behalf of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas economy and the famous campaign was named by the trade publication Advertising Age "a cultural phenomenon.”
Leveraging Nevada ’s positive tax climate and an international airport and a business support infrastructure fueled by the hospitality industry, Las Vegas is attracting new non-gaming corporate investment and jobs …… most recently the new downtown Las Vegas corporate headquarters of Zappos.com, the world’s largest online shoe and clothing store. The new Zappos.com head office is spurring the revival of downtown Las Vegas, co-anchored by the Gehry-designed Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, the World Market Center and the new Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Jack Boyd talks corporate location trends and the economy at the landmark Desert Inn Hotel in Las Vegas. Visionary Las Vegas developer Howard Hughes took over the 8th and 9th floors of the Desert Inn where he lived and ran his command center. After refusing to leave, the reclusive billionaire bought the entire hotel.
The Boyd Company of Princeton knows the ever-evolving Las Vegas market well. Since 1987, we have provided target industry research and development counsel to the visionary economic development firm The Howard Hughes Corporation, the Nevada Development Authority and the City of North Las Vegas. Our work for The Howard Hughes Corporation focused on corporate office development within its vast Summerlin planned community located in the Northwest Las Vegas Valley and our program for The Nevada Development Authority targeted corporate headquarters attraction leveraging the state’s unique tax climate. Our program for the City of North Las Vegas targeted the distribution warehousing industry and helped attract over a million sq. ft. new distribution space and ratables to the city.
New York’s I Love New York and Kansas City ’s Prime Time, both with their innovative research and media-centric approach, changed everything in the dog-eat-dog arena of economic development and set the table for more recent campaigns like What Happens Here, Stays Here. Up until Prime Time, the economic development promotion field was pretty much the province of print advertising agencies and direct mail marketers.
Since Prime Time, The Boyd Company has been retained by private developers and economic development organizations as diverse as The Howard Hughes Corporation, The World Bank, the Province of Alberta, the Government of the District of Columbia, the State of Indiana and the Investment Properties Division of the Mormon Church to provide target industry research and promotion support. Often we are asked to explain our media-centric approach to economic development promotion and to explain the differences between it and advertising -- a much better understood field but one bringing far less credibility to the message. We are also asked what distinguishes the economic development promotion capabilities of Boyd from those of a public relations firm or other marketers specializing in the economic development field.
First, we explain that careful research and detailed study are the initial steps in any program to promote or brand a place and to begin to shape corporate opinion about it. As a third-party consultant, we must thoroughly understand our client’s city, state or project and be able to identify its strengths, weaknesses and competitive advantages – both quantitative and qualitative. This process often starts with pedestrian, on-the-ground field research carried out in the manner of a Boyd corporate site selection search.
Relevance must be the key. We must isolate those elements of our client’s location that are meaningful, distinct and timely to what is going on elsewhere in America and the world. This is done within the context of specific target industry sectors that Boyd recommends as most timely and opportunistic for our client’s success. Because something is interesting in Omaha, Tucson or Birmingham does not make it significant or noteworthy in New York , Chicago , Los Angeles , London or in other major corporate and media centers of influence.
The process – of digging up the facts, interpreting them on a national scale and against a national or world criteria in a highly professional manner – requires great skill and considerable knowledge. It can’t be done in a vacuum by a person or firm whose views and exposure are limited. It requires a great deal of discipline and experience. It is impossible to “wish” a poorly researched and badly communicated promotion message to success. If our research and message are properly utilized, they are powerful tools and a valuable advocate for the economic development organization they serve. Now, that value and impact far exceeds the days of I Love New York and Prime Time owing to today’s 24-hour news cycle, and even more importantly, due to the internet and the proliferation of social media, like Twitter and Facebook.
While the shelf life of newspaper and magazine articles and on-air interviews in the days of Prime Time and I Love New York were measured in days or weeks and their readership limited in geography, today’s print and electronic media coverage now extends to the internet and instantly reaches a global, world-wide corporate audience.
Today's digital media, mobility and the internet are all game-changers for economic development promotion.
Unlike what public relations firms are able to do–given the often cynical nature of the press - Boyd with its five decades of corporate location experience can gain clear, unfettered access to the national business press and do so with an authoritative standing. Moreover, companies that step forward after reading Boyd’s media coverage and request further information translate into valuable new prospects for our economic development clients.
These coveted leads are unique to Boyd’s economic development promotion work and would not have been generated by any other source. Moreover, Boyd development clients have sole possession and control of these new leads, not partner state or regional economic development agencies or other competitive groups in the region or elsewhere.
Bringing more value here is today's digital media and 24-hour news cycle. The articles that we help generate for our economic development clients will live forever in online search engines like Google and others and will take on a life of their own to corporate decision-makers researching new location opportunities now and for years to come. All of this has incalculable marketing value to our economic development clients.
One word of caution here, corporate opinions are not changed quickly. It is a slow, steady process with no shortcuts. There are no instant successes in public relations programs to influence corporate opinion or to re-shape the image of a city...or to establish an image or brand from scratch. I recall Larry Lebenow, the venerable Carl Byoir account executive for Prime Time, sharing with me the early results of a public opinion poll over cocktails at the old Top of the Sixes restaurant atop 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan where the poll question was “What do you think of when you think of Kansas City?” The response from more than one jaded New Yorker was: “I don’t think of Kansas City at all.”
So, yes, economic development promotion via the media needs constant nurturing, feeding and reinforcing. Success is sometimes slow, but steady, that’s where faith in your community, your economic development program and your consultant come in. The consultant must believe in what he is doing and so must his client - a credo Boyd has maintained since Prime Time in Kansas City and is still “up to date” today.