January 12, 2022

Pure business, pure potential: Website revamp brings economic development brand to life

According to brand, design and innovation guru Marty Neumeier, “A brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.” With that in mind, the EDB set out to amplify Tacoma-Pierce County’s economic development voice and create a new website to bring it to life.

It was a project that had been on the EDB’s radar for years. The pandemic drove home the need and funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce got things rolling in May 2021.

Help from an industry leader

The EDB turned to Development Counsellors International (DCI), a leader in economic development and tourism marketing for more than 60 years. “It made sense to go with a company that focuses on just economic development and place marketing,” said EDB Vice President for Business Recruitment Sarah Bonds. “DCI has worked with hundreds of cities, counties and regions and understands the unique challenges communities face. We knew they could help us.”

“The website is the most effective marketing tactic economic development groups can invest in,” said DCI Senior Vice President Susan Brake. “We know what corporate executives and site selectors are looking for on a website. They want to know about demographics, workforce data, funding options and who else is already in the region.”

Multi-tiered approach

The EDB and DCI dove into the project with five priorities in mind:

1.  Identify and promote the EDB brand

2. Improve website navigation and functionality

3. Spotlight critical data

4. Bolster content

5. Boost search engine optimization (SEO) to improve the quality and quantity of website traffic

Here’s what’s new and improved:

Pure Business. Pure Potential. The first step was to determine how the EDB wanted people to see Tacoma-Pierce County. Using focus groups and input from EDB Executive Committee and Board members, as well as community and businesses leaders outside of the organization, DCI helped the EDB land on its unique brand voice for the website: “Pure Business. Pure Potential.”

ChooseTacomaPierce.org. The old website, edbtacomapierce.org, was more about the EDB and less about Tacoma-Pierce County. “We wanted people to come to the website to learn about our locations and communities,” Bonds said. “ChooseTacomaPierce.org checked all the boxes.”

Industry-specific info. Dedicated pages have been created for the aerospace, technology, health care and logistics industries. When a business executive wants information specific to their industry, they’ll have it at their fingertips.

User-friendly research. At the end of day, the goal is for the EDB to be contacted more frequently and have people download more from the website. Why make people work for what they’re looking for? Now, information is front and center about workforce, demographics, taxes and incentives, infrastructure, sites and more.

Dedicated space for current and small businesses. It’s not just about getting companies to come here. The new website is also dedicated to existing businesses and what they need to expand or relocate in the region, from BIPOC support to startup assistance to funding options and more.

Success stories. Website users will easily find out who is investing in Tacoma-Pierce County and how they’re growing.

A site for everyone. With a focus on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, the EDB website is designed to increase access to information for all. “There’s not a lot of sizzle,” Brake said. “The website is clean, clear and easy to use by anyone.”

Other cool stuff about the South Sound. For businesses looking to relocate, it’s important to spotlight what’s great about living here. The website includes information about arts and culture, municipalities, cost of living, recreation and more. Bold, dynamic graphics help tell the story.

Additional website enhancements are in the works, including team portals for EDB Cluster Acceleration teams and Board members.

Team effort paying off

“It’s been great to have the EDB challenge us to create a fresh, clean brand and easy-to-use website,” Brake said. “It was truly a team effort, and their passion for the region really came through. For us, it’s a pleasure to work with clients who love where they live and work.”

The revamped website quietly launched in late 2021. The work of the EDB and DCI to make that happen is already making a difference.

“We’ve seen an uptick in traffic on the website,” Bonds said. “We look forward to tracking where people go and getting the right information in front of them.”


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