How Powerful Brands Impact Economic Development… A Marketing Leader’s Perspective
By: Karen See, CEO, Abovo Group
Atlanta has the third most Fortune 500s headquartered here (14 total), we are gaining in population, and we are still ranked high as one of the “top” cities to work/live/build a business. Will it be this way forever?
Atlanta has recently seen a steady stream of “Fortune” brand companies leave the city, primarily through acquisitions from outside our region. We once were the proud hometown to Scientific-Atlanta, BellSouth, Cingular, John H. Harland, Georgia-Pacific, WebMD, and now potentially Delta, just to name a few. Today, companies outside our state have swallowed up our biggest and brightest brands. The effect this has is the displacement of thousands of workers and technically taking “headquartered in Atlanta” off our list. Not only do these losses negatively impact the luster behind our “Brand Atlanta” campaign, it will have dramatic economic impact on the city.
Atlanta must become more aggressive about marketing its business advantages to major corporations (with greater emphasis on our logistics and diverse workforce differentiators). While the Brand Atlanta campaign is a good starting point, it does not appear to be focused on a business-to-business economic development story. If we’re going to lose major corporations, we need a plan in place for replacing them as quickly as possible. We need to have incentive packages for the acquiring companies to “merge” their organizations into their Atlanta-based acquisition. And we need to be more proactive in marketing our value to the Investment Bankers and Venture Capitalists outside Atlanta who often influence headquarter location decisions.
If action is not taken, Atlanta will become known as the city that “incubates for acquisitions.” This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it will not sustain our ever-demanding infrastructure and economic base. This is what a second-tier city may want to aspire to … not the Internationally-desired Mecca we want to become.
As community leaders, we all know the fantastic story Atlanta has to tell. We also know how hard the leadership of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce is working, as well as the leadership within the Mayor’s office. This is not a government/association performance problem—it is a citywide challenge. This touches every economic class, every business and every resident. This should be our rally-cry across the region … we need to keep Atlanta-birthed companies in Atlanta. And we need to let major corporations know how much they can prosper under our pro-business environment.
* Abovo Group is a 5-year sponsor of the CEO Council, provided the branding for this year’s ION Venture Forum Urls: www.ionventureforum.com, and has provided branding and marketing support to the Metro-Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Logistics Economic Development Council.
Interested in learning more about the B2B and B2B2C brands Abovo Group has launched? Please contact Karen See at 678.597.3302 or firstname.lastname@example.org