This Place Called West Virginia

I’m going to take a slight departure from my normal posts today.  Instead of being about business development or marketing, this post is about my passion – a place called West Virginia. 

For the past four years I have served as the Marketing Director for the City of Wheeling, West Virginia. Wheeling is the only city in West Virginia with such a position and I am extremely fortunate to participate in the progress of this state in such a dynamic way.  Beginning on November 1, I am taking a new role with the Regional Economic Development Partnership in which I will be responsible for attracting and retaining businesses in Ohio, Marshall, and Wetzel counties as well as leading economic development efforts for Downtown Wheeling.

West Virginia is truly and honestly my life's passion.  I spend a lot of time traveling around the Mountain State building relationships in an attempt to strengthen the economy here.  On a recent trip to Lewisburg I had the privilege of working with fifty leaders in our state about education and workforce development.  This post is not about me (ok, so far it has been nauseously about me) but rather about this amazingly wild and wonderful place called West Virginia. 

We often talk about coal and tourism when we discuss this place.  It’s easy to see why.  WV is the 2nd largest coal producer in the U.S. and tourism is, well, a booming industry here.  Coal and tourism are of the utmost importance, but let’s dig deeper.  What does it mean to actually live here? What are the people like?  I am here to tell you the people here are the most remarkably brilliant, driven, talented people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

I first came to WV in 1996.  I left in 2005.  I am one of the “come back kids” who was fortunate enough to return. Even though I grew up in Ohio, I consider myself to be “from” West Virginia.  While my family may not like those words, I think they understand how connected I am to this place.  Since returning in 2008 I have many amazing experiences but the single most significant one has been my time with Leadership West Virginia.  A proud member of the 20th Anniversary Class of 2011, our impending graduation is bitter-sweet as I will miss seeing my classmates with regularity. 

LWV is hands-down the most substantial thing I have ever done for my career, but moreover, it is the most beneficial thing I have ever done personally.  Professionally, we learned about what it takes to be a great leader and we learned about the economy of WV.  However, it’s the people in the class that have impacted and changed me in ways that is difficult to describe with words.  I take away a little piece of each of them with each session.   We learned that we 
are the sum of the five people with whom we most associate, and if that is true, than I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to experience these people and call them my friends.  They will never know how much I cherish them and how they have challenged me to be the best version of myself. 

To all of my classmates and Pam, thank you for allowing me to be part of your lives.  It means a lot for a girl from a small steel town in Ohio to be not only accepted, but forever shaped by you and this place called West Virginia. 


Relevancy Is Key

Mobile marketing is one of the most fascinating emerging platforms for today’s marketer.  Realizing this statement is opinion-based, let’s take a look at what works for creating successful campaigns in this new medium and why brands should be embracing the technology.

Mobile is inherently and incredibly personal.  Mobile devices contain everything about us from our contacts and calendars to photos of our family to our credit card information and browsing history. Used in concert with other databases, such as point-of-sale (POS) purchase data or credit card purchase history data, you would have one powerful marketing tool!

The most critical steps to a successful mobile campaign are: relevancy, call-to-actions, and preparing for challenges.  From research and from my own experience with a campaign, these areas seem to be the most fundamental, if not most essential.

RelevancyMobile is one of the most customer-centric mediums available in a marketer’s arsenal of tools.  Since this medium is extremely personal and targeted, it is imperative that the message is relevant to the recipient.   Due to mobile’s immediacy, it’s highly probably that the majority of sent messages are actually received and processed very quickly by the recipient.  I learned this recently with the launch of our organization’s iPhone app. The developer sends out push notifications as soon as I send them to him.  The rate and speed of message delivery is astounding.  To date, we have approximately 2,000 downloads; it is utterly fascinating that 2,000 people received a message that I literally just sent.  Furthermore, not only did I just send the message, in many cases I just created  it as well.

ActionableI think sometimes marketers (or C-level managers) get hung-up on the definition of calls-to-action.  Calls-to-action are not necessarily about making a purchase, but rather they can be some other action such as increasing foot traffic in a brick-and-mortar store, visiting a web site, or ‘liking’ a Facebook page.  Evian water recently launched a mobile campaign that utilities this idea.  Positioned on the Pandora app on phones, the banner ad reads, “The Evian Babies Are Back. Click to Watch.”  The user is then taken to a YouTube channel where they view a short spot for the water company.  They are not only boasting their presence in the mobile space by being on smartphones, but they are also engaging with consumers and building brand awareness. 
ChallengesOne of the most important issues to consider when developing a mobile marketing plan is where the campaign might fail and how to account for it.  Marketers must consider things like if the ad or app or timing are relevant, what’s the desired action item, and placement (meaning which device or medium) makes the most sense.  Will the ad be a banner ad or does using advergaming make more sense? What if we know our audience better than we know ourselves and it still fails?  We must develop a contingency plan that can be activated immediately in the event of campaign failure.


You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat: How to Catch the Big Fish in a Changing Current

On a daily (or at least weekly) basis I hear businesses – particularly small businesses – say things like, “Heh, we don’t need the Internet” or “Twitter won’t pay the bills” or “Yeah, we know we should be on Facebook but we’re not really sure what it…” It makes me chuckle, naturally.  But it also makes it clear to me that there is a need in the marketplace for education.  Marketers have a real opportunity to educate small businesses about the basics of using emerging media to enhance their business.  Why should they use it is more important for them to initially understand than the how.  It’s not enough anymore to simply have a Web site or even to have a toe in the water of emerging media. Businesses that understand the changing marketplace and align their brands accordingly will have a leg up on the competition.  But before all that: let’s start at the beginning.

Remember Jaws? You know, the Spielberg classic in which a small resort town is terrorized by man-eating sharks. There are some lessons from that film that I equate to what businesses face in today’s market when trying to understand emerging media.

In Jaws, shark hunters are hired to track and kill a shark (believed to be responsible for at least two deaths) before the summer tourist season gets into full swing; to avoid scarring away tourists and the money they bring to the town.  The Chief of Police Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) sets out to find the shark. Brody, along with shark hunters, gather their gear and load up the boat and head out into the vast ocean. Brody begins to place bait in the water when he suddenly is taken by extreme surprise as the shark rears his head just above the water’s surface.  In one of the most memorable cinematic lines in history he utters words that still resonate with us and can be used to describe various situations across an array of disciplines: “You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat.” 

This is exactly how I see businesses that struggle to understand new media.  When I think about businesses that underplay (or ignore altogether) emerging media as a tool in their marketing arsenal, I envision them as Brody.  A veteran at their craft.  A master at selling widgets (or financial services, construction equipment, food (restaurants), bicycles, art, wine…). They have been in business for generations and “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is almost a mantra.  Another line I often hear that’s a personal favorite is: “you don’t understand my business”.  The very nature of that statement makes me wonder if they understand their business.  They are – in essence – Police Chief Brody.  An expert in their field, respected by many, and revered as an innovator, they take on the challenge of finding and killing the shark with the same tools, the same boat, and the same crew as they always have.  However, once they’re in the ocean they are stunned to learn how different things look.  This shark is unlike any they’ve ever seen.   Now it gets fun.

So, now the business begins to understand that they are ill-equipped to catch such a large fish.  But they want that fish more than any fish they’ve ever caught in their career. It’s not about saving the tourism industry or to make upper management happy: this is personal.  This catch will be their legacy.  They must catch it. But they need a bigger boat.  Where do they get a bigger boat? Do they need any other new tools? What tools are there these days? This is what we call the “Ah-Ha!” moment. 

There are myriad emerging media that can be used to help businesses land the big fish (or a whole bunch of small fish, whatever their pleasure).  This blog is not about the how but more about the why -  (More on the how in the next post) - Why they should at least entertain being educated about the tools that are available.  They will still use some of their stand-by tools.  The stand-bys are what got them here in the first place!  But the current is changing and with it comes a new species of fish that aren’t harder to catch, but rather they are different to catch. 

I personally love Brody.  Always have.  He is rugged and the years in this field are beginning to show in his face.  His knowledge is vast and the rookies both respect and loathe him.  He has a long, successful history.  And he does, ultimately, kill the fish.  But was it in the most efficient way?  He is exhausted by the end of the journey and appears to have no energy left to hunt anymore fish – possibly ever.  Do you want your business to catch the big fish (or a boat load of little ones or a mixture of both)? Do you want to use every possible tool available? Do you want to expel so much energy towards this one catch that you contemplate never hunting again?  All you need is a bigger boat.  


Feeling Anti-Social? How To Break The Ice at the Online Cocktail Party

Human beings are social creatures by nature.  Yes, even the techy, Star Trek types.  But for some reason everyone’s story is the same: people like being at the party, but sometimes it takes us a while to warm up and really feel part of the group.  Once we get over the awkward feeling that everyone is starring at us as we entered (trust me, they’re not so get over yourself and relax), we generally find that once we get a drink and settle in that the “crowd” is rather accepting of us.  Furthermore, they might even want to build a relationship with us or (gasp!) do business with us.

This is exactly how social media works.  That’s why we call it “social”.  Don’t worry about being late to the party.   You’re welcome to join us anytime.  Here are a few tips to get started.

Dress Code

Business casual is perfectly acceptable however the emphasis should be on business and not casual.  When posting an update to Facebook or Twitter, use your “office” voice and leave the tailgate voice for the tailgate with your friends. The most important thing to remember is that you are building or maintaining relationships with clients and colleagues.  Use the same etiquette and vernacular that you would if you were speaking with them at a business-after-hours or other networking event. 

What Time Does It Start?
One of the biggest challenges with social media is when to post something.  That is a big question with an answer that, well, depends.  It depends on what type of business you have and when your customers are online.  Number one rule of customer-centricity is to know your customer.  If you know them, then you know their behavior.  Speak to them when and where they choose – not when it’s most convenient for you. 

Who Will Be There?
Customers. Colleagues.  Potential employers/future job prospects.  But also the competition.  Let me say that again.  Your competition is already at the party and they just bought your client a drink. Also, they just asked your employee for their business card. Even if you’re not sure what to wear, what time it starts, or what really happens at this party, relax.  You will figure all that out in time.  But if you’re not there, it’s fatal.

So, get in the car and get to that party! Engage yourself and your customers.  Engage your friends.  Be patient.  You will not sell something at this party – at least not right away.  But you will eventually.  And your brand equity will skyrocket.  Pretty soon they’ll be asking YOU to host the party at your place.  Better yet, they’ll just start showing up at your place and you won’t even have to invite them.  Why? Because you’re the life of the party. 



Everyone wants to be liked.  We all do.  We want to know that others find us desirable in some way whether it’s for a date, a friendship, or a job interview.  What is “it” about certain people that make them likeable?  The same thing it is for brands. Now, let’s get real. 

Consumers today are savvy.  What this really means is that they are cynical.  They know you’re selling to them.  The truth is that they don’t want to be “sold’ however, if we facilitate the right environment, they will buy. Why? Because they like us.  Ogilvy’s SVP of Global Strategy & Marketing, Rohit Bhargava, called a “believability crisis” during his presentation at Mashable Connect 2011.
Bhargava gives us a few things to remember when communicating our value or our brand’s value.  Wait, that’s too much jargon already.  Seriously, I’ll get real now. 

Bhargava coined the term “Likeonomics”  and it’s based on being simple, human, brutally honest and emotional. GET REAL PEOPLE!  Here’s how: 

1) Simple
To be more believable, the first step is simple and based on personal relationships, said Bhargava. “Be genuine, be honest, be open.” He believes that this concept has powered the social media revolution and the brands that have embraced it.

2) Be Human
If you’re trying to build relationships, it’s a good idea to be human. Simply said, but not easily done.

3) Brutally Honest
This is tough for some people.  In her book A Place of Yes, Bethenny Frankel addresses this, too.  She says, You’ve set yourself up to live with integrity, and this rule is the key to practicing that integrity.If you do it, say it, think it, then own it, and you’ll never have to scramble to cover your tracks or remember your lies or make up any excuses. Owning it means taking that final step toward fully acknowledging who you really are”. 

4) Emotional
Be invested in your passion and others will be too. 

Try these on for size over the next few weeks and see if people like you.  For being you.  Guaranteed ROI.  People will do business with you – not because you make the best widget or sell it at the best price or because you’re in the best location – but because they like you. 


Is That Old PC a Lemon? Maybe You Need an Apple.

As the digital age evolves, conversations among friends and colleagues revolve around the technology which guides our daily lives.  Does your company use social media? Do you Tweet? Are you addicted to your phone? And, inevitably, the discussions include the decades-long question: Are you a Mac or a PC?

Technology is increasingly personal.  Mobile phones are personal.  Messages are personal.  This could explain why everything seem to begin with ‘i’.  It is no surprise, then, that marketing campaigns are becoming more personal by making connections with the audience. Smart marketers tell their brand’s story by making the consumer the central character within that story.  Apple’s Get A Mac campaign executed this idea flawlessly.  They made the audience the central character as they told their product’s story. 

The campaign ran for a few years. The stuffy, old-guy “PC” is played by John Hodgman and the hipster “Mac” is played by Justin Long.  Let’s take a closer look at three of the stories they told - all of which centered on the customer. 

This spot begins with the two characters we have come to know and love as “PC” and “Mac” standing in the same place they are always standing – the white oblivion.  “PC” is sneezing and “Mac” asks him what’s wrong. 

“PC”: “I’ve got that virus that’s going around. You better stay back, this one’s a doozy!”
 “Mac”: “That’s okay, I’ll be fine”
“PC”: “No, no. Last year there were 114,000 known viruses for PC’s”
“Mac”: “PCs. But not Macs.”

Then “PC” says he’s crashing and falls over, landing on the floor.  Apple puts the consumer as the central character of this spot by playing to consumers’ emotions about viruses and the safety of their computers.  The consumers, especially PC owners, can identify with the virus story and that’s why the spot is personal.  Also, by personifying the virus and the computer, the character (meaning the audience) feels that him or herself, not just their computer, could catch the virus.  The audience is taken from Point A to Point B in thirty short seconds because they come into the commercial as a PC owner and leave the commercial with the knowledge that Macs apparently do not get viruses.  This spot’s hilarity makes it enjoyable to watch. The spot’s product information makes it powerful. 

This spot begins how every Get A Mac spot begins: with the introduction.  Every commercial in this campaign begins with “Mac” saying, “Hello. I’m a Mac” followed immediately by “PC” saying, “And I’m a PC.”  However, this spot is different in that “Mac” immediately responds with something unexpected.  Here’s the dialogue:

“Mac”: “Hello. I’m a Mac.”
“PC”: “And I’m a PC.”
“Mac”: “And I’m a PC, too.”

“PC” is totally thrown off-guard by this comment.  “Mac” continues by stating that Mac now has the capacity to run Windows operating system.  He then cleverly states that because of this, Mac may be the only computer you’ll ever need.  This spot places the consumer as the central character by addressing consumers’ concerns about Mac’s operating system. Consumers who may be considering purchasing a Mac may be apprehensive because they are familiar with Windows and their work is all done in Windows and Windows is the standard and….

The audience is once again taken from Point A to Point B, with Point B being the knowledge that Mac now runs Windows.  Whether or not the audience runs out and buys a Mac based on this is irrelevant.  What is relevant is that the audience feels an emotional and a logical connection with Mac in a totally new way.  The audience believes that Mac understands their needs and desires.  Their own personal complexity and dynamic nature is central to this brand.

This spot opens just like the others.  But something is noticeably different this time.  “Mac”, who is usually dressed in a signature T-shirt and blue jeans, is wearing a business suit.  “PC” immediately comments on this. Here is the dialogue:

“PC”:  “What’s with the big-boy clothes?”
“Mac”: “Oh, I just came from a meeting.”
“PC”: “Why, why, why were you at a meeting.”
“Mac”: “Oh, I do work stuff, too.”

“PC” then begins to hyperventilate and has to lie down.  He says that he knew this day would come.  Then he lies down on the floor and says, “Just let me lie here and depreciate.”  This spot takes the audience from Point A to Point B by showing them that Macs aren’t all fun-and-games and that you can get a lot of work done when using a Mac.  It brilliantly places the audience as the central character in the story by speaking to their desire for a “cool” computer and their need to work.

Get A Mac was a brilliantly executed campaign because it told its story by making the audience the central character.  When brands do this, they engage the consumer in a relationship, thereby building brand loyalty.  Consumers want products that are personal to them. They want products that make sense for their lives whether the product is for work or for pleasure.  In the ‘i’ generation of technological advancement, brands who are customer-centric instead of product-centric will have a competitive advantage because they will build lasting relationships with their target audience.  Regardless of what side of the personal computer debate you’re on, you would be remiss to deny that Apple's customer-centricity works.  All brands, big and small, can take a lesson from this campaign. 


What's in a Commercial?

We love commercials that grab our attention, make us laugh, or make us think.  We actively participate in commercial-watching during the Super Bowl.  Have you wondered about the creative side? Marketers have thirty seconds to tell a brand’s story.  They develop scripts as road maps to ensure quality and consistency and to make sure that everyone involved with making the spots has a clear understanding of the story. 

As a way to demonstrate what goes in to this process, below are two commercials that I have reverse-engineered.

Spot 1
Volkswagen and Darth Vader. 

Wide Shot (WS) from behind of a small child wearing a Darth Vader costume walking down the hallway of a home. Walls are white, focusing the viewer’s attention on the child in the middle of the shot
 The Imperial March from Star Wars (also known as Darth Vader’s theme)
WS of the child in the laundry room attempting to give “The Force” to the washing machine

WS of child and the family dog. The dog is laying on a dog bed. The child has both hands extended out again in the same way, attempting to give “The Force” to the dog

CU of the dog. The dog’s expression changes slightly as he tries to understand what the kid is doing

WS of child in what is presumably his sister’s room.  There is a doll on the bed sitting upright.  The child becomes more dramatic with trying to impart “The Force” onto the doll by using his left hand first, then dramatically raising the right hand and “throwing” energy at the doll.

CU of the doll sitting motionless on the bed.

WS of child and doll in the room. The child again drops both arms at his sides in utter defeat at the lack of his ability to impart “The Force”

CU of child sitting at kitchen counter with left hand on his head, still feeling defeated. When the child hears the car pull in, he perks up, as if given one more chance!
In addition to music, the dog barks off camera, signaling the car’s arrival
WS of dad getting out of car
Car door closes
WS of dad walking towards house. Child is running out to driveway.  Dad (briefcase in left hand) extends both arms out, thinking the child is running out to greet him.

Child motions for dad to get out of his way and runs over to the front of the car. Dad shrugs shoulders as if to say, “hey buddy! Don’t you want to see me?”

CU of car’s interior, showing the VW logo on the steering wheel.  Through the windshield, we see the child in front of the car.

WS of child in front of car trying to give the car “The Force”.

CU of child trying to give the car “The Force”

Medium Shot (MS) of child in front of car. The car’s engine starts!

The child is astounded and stumbles backwards a few steps.

CU of the car’s remoter starter with someone’s finger being released from the starter button

MS of mom and dad. We see the back of mom’s head as dad looks at her with a mouth-opened grin as they both play along with the child’s fantasy. Dad raises eyebrows slightly as if to say, “Did you see that! Got him!”

CU of child in the driveway looking at back the parents. He is astounded as he believes he gave the car “The Force”.

Black Screen with white copy. ”The All-New Volkswagen Passat.” VW logo in bottom right corner.  Very small copy reads: “*Available Summer 2011. MSRP. Base Model $20, 590; V6 SEL as Shown $32, 950; taxes, title transportation, options and dealer charges; Dealers Set Actual Price.

White copy reads: Coming Soon – Starting Around $20,000*.

WS of child still in driveway. He looks back at the car one more time.

Music Fades

Spot 2
Tough Questions About Vegas


WS of young father and young daughter in the kitchen shot from behind the child The child is
Sitting at the kitchen counter. The dad is standing on the other side of the counter.
No music for entire spot
Dad is holding two stuffed animals and says, “And basically that’s how babies are made”

He shakes his head affirmatively and his proud of himself for handling this tough question

Child says, “Ok”

Dad say, “ok!” again, proud of himself

CU of child eating a bowl of cereal.  She quickly moves on her to next question while looking very
Contemplative at her cereal

Without looking up, she says, “So why do grown-ups go to Las Vegas?

CU of dad. Still holding two stuffed animals.  He is no longer looking her in the face, but instead
Is looking off into the distance. He fidgets with stuffed animals nervously

He cannot find words.  He simply utters, “Uh…oh, uh…”

He giggles nervously and nods at the child

He looks up, looks all around, searching for an answer

He stumbles again, “uh…”

CU of child. She is now looking at him. Waiting impatiently for his answer.

CU of dad. He says, “Well, uh…” then he yells for his wife, who is presumably in another room
In the house. “Honey!”

Wife does not answer

He looks at the child and says, “This is kinda her thing…she…uh…loves the questions”

CU of child. She is irritated that he will not answer her.

CU of dad.  He personifies the stuffed animals, he is still fidgeting with them. In an animated stuffed animal voice he says, “we have questions too”… he is very fidgety and laughing nervously

Screen goes black with white copy: “what happens here, stays here”

Vegas logo
Dad’s voice, “Answer forth coming”


Why Wheeling?

Concept Paper For:
Later Alligator and The City of Wheeling

The first part of this Blog is a concept paper as if I were telling Later Alligator’s story.  Who, knows? Maybe one day I will! The second part of this Blog is a concept paper for the City of Wheeling as I prepare to tell her story.    

Later Alligator
Later Alligator is a restaurant located in the Centre Market district of Wheeling, West Virginia.  It is as trendy and hip as the neighborhood it calls home.  The most interesting thing about Gator is its story.  And everyone has a story. 

The purpose of a campaign should be to call people to action to patronize the restaurant. Visiting this restaurant is an experience and telling its story with video and images is a great way to get people in the door.  The most appropriate option for focus is a commercial in which they are asking the audience for their business directly.  Video should be hip and trendy, like the restaurant itself. One set of commercials should be :30 in length.  They should run on the local NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox affiliates to reach the local market.  The commercials should run or “flight” during the morning, evening, and night time news broadcasts in order to reach the broadest audience.  They should begin during the third quarter of 2011 and run through the second quarter of 2012.  This will ensure they are running during the fall festival season, the holiday shopping season, and into the spring.  They should also be housed on Later’s web site (www.lateralligator.net) and Later’ s Facebook page.  Additionally, an audio commercial should run on local radio stations – particularly AM radio stations (WKKX, WVLY, and WWVA) during their morning talk shows. The FM stations which are most suitable are 97.3 FM and 98.7 FM because those stations’ demographics are in line with Later’s target market (25-50 year old professionals).  The restaurant should also advertise a print ad in InWheeling magazine and the Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper.  The main focus of this campaign should be to get people in the door by telling Later’s story.  This is a hip, trendy, and unique eatery located in a cool part of town.  If you’re not eating at Later, you’re missing one of the highlights of Wheeling!   

The Brand
The brand of Later is that it is a hip, trendy place to eat with a unique menu.  The experience of being in the restaurant and the type of food they offer – crepes – are the essentials of the brand. The brand should also delve further and talk about the ambience and the overall experience the audience gets – it’s not just lunch or dinner, it’s an experience.  The strengths of the brand are the menu and the environment.  The menu is unlike any other in the entire region.  It features savory crepes, most of which are healthy.  It also features artisan sandwiches, salads, and desserts.  The soups are well-known and are available for carry-out in quarts. Other strengths of the brand are its outdoor seating and its location in the area of town known as Centre Market. This area is trendy and is home to unique small businesses including two community theaters, an interactive science center, a wine shop, and an artist’s co-op. The weaknesses of the brand include limited seating, limited parking, and low volume at dinner. 

The Audience
The target audience for Later Alligator is people in and around Wheeling, West Virginia who are interested in healthy eating in a unique atmosphere.  Their songbird is healthy food in a cool part of town. This is a hip, trendy place and they want to ‘be seen’ here.  The digital story should appeal to both men and women, who are either working professionals or stay-at-home parents, between the ages of 30 and 55. They have an overall healthy and active lifestyle and enjoy the Centre Market area. For lunch, the appeal will be to people who work Downtown.   For dinner, the appeal will be to people who come to Centre Market for wine, art, or the theater.

Content Points
What we want the audience to take away from this campaign is:
  •   Later Alligator is a unique restaurant that offers healthy food
  • Crepes are an interesting alternative to home cooking or short-order style restaurant
  • The location is the chic Centre Market district
  • You can get in and out during a lunch hour
  • A great place for dinner 
  • Outdoor seating
  • It’s not just a meal – it’s an experience
  • Eat. Or We Both Starve!
The City of Wheeling
The focus for the City of Wheeling is that of an image-building piece.  Unlike a restaurant, there is nothing tangible to ‘sell’ but rather a quality of life.  Wheeling has myriad of cultural and entertainment amenities, which appeal to a wide range of demographics.  There are multiple golf courses and parks; arts; theater; science; music; restaurants; a casino; and recreation such as an award-winning bike trail, water sports like kayaking and boating, and snow skiing. Another important area of focus is Wheeling’s location.  It is perfectly situated along Interstate 70, which makes it the main through-fare between Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Additionally, proximity to Pittsburgh International airport, amusement parks, and other cultural activities are within a one-hour drive from Wheeling. 

The best way to tell Wheeling’s story is through images and video.  A series of :30, :60, and long-format videos will be created highlighting the quality of life features.  The commercials will air on the local affiliates of NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox as well as on the cable channels HGTV, Travel, Discovery, History, ESPN, USA, and TBS. The long-format videos will be housed on the City’s web site (WheelingWV.gov), the City’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/WheelingWV) and on YouTube.  Additionally, the videos will be listed under the “Spotlight” link on the City’s iPhone app.   An audio version of the commercials will be played on AM radio stations WWVA, WVLY, and WKKX during the morning and afternoon talk shows.

The City’s brand is its unparalleled quality of life.  There is always something to do in Wheeling! From young children to seniors, there is truly something for everyone here.  For a city its size, the amenities are remarkable.  There is a symphony orchestra, a casino with Greyhound dog races and major concerts, the historic Capitol Theatre that features national and local talent, Oglebay Resort, Wheeling Park, The Wheeling Heritage Trail, The Centre Market, Historic North Wheeling, and championship golf courses.  Additionally, there are youth sports and activities such as tennis courts, baseball and softball fields, and a skate park.  There is ice skating and skiing in the winter and water sports in the summer.  The Heritage Port is home to nearly 100 outdoor festivals and events annually including a half marathon, ethnic heritage events, and a nationally-ranked blues music festival.  Wheeling is also the birthplace of West Virginia and Independence Hall, located Downtown, is literally the site of West Virginia Statehood.  These things combined with educational institutions and nightlife make Wheeling a brand that should be experienced. 

Wheeling’s biggest weakness is a low morale among current residents. That being said, it is believed that the low morale is the viewpoint of the vocal majority.  This campaign hopes to the build morale among the vocal minority and increase the participation of the silent majority. 

The Audience
There are several potential audiences for this campaign however it is recommended to stay focused on just one – the current residents of Wheeling.  While marketers usually focus on a specified demographic, this campaign is focused on all current residents.  West Virginia, as a State, is targeting retention of young talent, and Wheeling will be partially segmenting this campaign to young talent; however, the entire population will be the audience. As mentioned above, the goal is to build Wheeling’s image as a great place to live.  The audience will be the central character in Wheeling’s story as we highlight the positive attributes of this City. 

Content Points
The content points for this campaign are:

  • Quality of Life
  • Entertainment
  • Arts & Culture
  • Restaurants
  • Education
  • Location

Everyone Has A Story
While Wheeling’s history is abundant with the stories that created her, her future is still unwritten.  Leave a comment on this Blog about what Wheeling means to you; not what is was or what it could be, but what it is right now.  Why Wheeling? Why do you live in this place called Wheeling? Why now?