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By Terri Bernhardt

flaBizIn mid-February Enterprise Florida and Governor Rick Scott announced Florida’s first-ever business brand: Florida. The Perfect Climate for Business.” The new brand will allow all of the state’s economic development organizations to work together in a common thread to promote Florida for business. Enterprise Florida, the organization behind the campaign, believes that Florida offers the ideal climate to start or grow a business. “Although our past marketing campaigns have been successful, we have never had a business focused campaign that everyone could embrace,” stated Melissa Medley, Chief Marketing Officer, Enterprise Florida. “We purposely collaborated with everyone in the state in an effort to promote Florida as a super-state for business.”

Florida leads the way in tourism with theme parks, beautiful beaches and is on the top of many lists for retirement/leisure but showcasing Florida as a premier business destination holds some strong key points of its own. “Our Sunshine state has no personal income tax and unemployment is at a four year low,” stated Kim Wilmes, Vice President Marketing, Enterprise Florida. “Florida also has an established platform for global trade and is the 21st largest economy in the world.”

Nine million people work in the state of Florida and Chief Executive Magazine has named Florida “the #2 best state for business.” Florida encompasses 15 deepwater seaports, 19 commercial airports, 2 spaceports, over 12,000 miles of highway and 3,000 miles of rail. The industries in which Florida has a competitive advantage are Aviation and Aerospace, Life Sciences, Infotech, Logistics and Distribution, Cleantech and Financial/Professional Services as well as Manufacturing and Homeland Security, Defense, Aviation and Aerospace; Team Orlando is a major subset of the latter industry cluster. The state offers a compelling business case to be the ideal business destination; however, not many are aware of these advantages.

The branding initiative’s purpose is for the state to market itself nationally and internationally as an attractive business destination. This includes business expansions and/or new recruits that will enhance Florida’s economy and provide jobs for Florida families.

According to Enterprise Florida, the new brand was developed based on a research campaign of roughly 1,000 decision-makers and influencers both in the Sunshine state and nationwide to obtain an accurate reading of Florida’s business perception.

“Three simple things came out of that research,” stated Wilmes. To build on the known: Florida is a great place to live and visit. “To build on the unknown: informing people of Florida’s astounding size and strength; We offer a lifestyle no other state can claim; To build our Emerging advantage: For our own Floridians to be proud – to talk up our state and become ambassadors.” Enterprise Florida developed one line that brought these three points together publicizing that Florida is a super-state for everything.

The research, brand development and marketing strategies were launched to the tune of $330,000 which included all the research, strategic advertising/marketing/PR campaign concepts, a new website, fresh logo, and the catchy slogan above. The new logo, having had its fair share of public opinion, plays a small part in this campaign. “The business brand is about creating that emotional and psychological connection with the customer in trying to relay the message that Florida is a competitive business market,” said Medley. “Whether the customer is male or female, the same message applies in wanting to complement the tourism image: Have you thought about Florida for business? Consider us!”

When asked about the support of the state from the Governor’s office all the way down to the local EDCs, Wilmes stated, “Everyone is very enthusiastic about promoting this campaign. In fact, they want to move faster than we can handle. There is something more powerful about speaking with one voice while retaining your unique community brand and to talk about it with ownership portrays a strong sense of pride.”

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