Increasing Regional Brand Identity through National Public Relations by: John Sampson

There we were, above the fold, page A2 in the Wall Street Journal on the second business day of the new year. The headline read, “Rust-Belt Relic Bets on New Vibe”.

“We”—the residents of Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana—appeared in the Wall Street Journal as leaders making a bold move to redevelop a blight in our community. More than 43.5 million readers online and 1.3 million in print were exposed to reporter Shibani Mahtani’s digest of our effort to breathe life into the former General Electric facility with a bold development vision now called Electric Works.

Let’s review five observations from the Wall Street Journal’s article.

  1. Northeast Indiana is a Midwest community competing for business and talent. Our leaders are confronting the reality of an aging “rust belt relic.”
  2. The Electric Works project totals $440 million for a city population of 260,000. Shibani explained, “The project is one of the most ambitious efforts to convert industrial complexes into modern downtowns.” She sources other examples of this type of development project including American Tobacco Campus in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. and the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis.
  3. The article remarked on the past progress and current revitalization of the urban core through downtown residential lofts, apartments, condominiums, restaurants and more.
  4. Shibani reported the region is “swimming upstream” to stem the tide on outbound domestic populations and accelerate international immigration.
  5. As an added bonus, the Wall Street Journal quote of the day featured CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Eric Doden saying, “What are your choices? To sit and look at this for 40 or 50 years as it crumbles?”

What This Means for the Region

No question, this is momentous publicity for our efforts to build a national brand reputation for Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana.

Click on the Partnership’s logo below to read the entire article:

NE Indiana Regional Partnership

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