The Toledo Region: Positioned for growth

Live, learn, work and play attributes set to drive economic development


At a time of increasingly intense competition between cities and regions for talent, funding and resources, a broad consortium of companies and organizations representing the Toledo Region has adopted a platform communicating the region’s unique appeal from an economic development, quality of life, education and leisure tourism perspective. Applied Storytelling led the ten-month initiative.


“For those of us who have a stake in this region’s well-being, its strengths have always been clear,” says Joe Napoli, President & General Manager of the Toledo Mud Hens and a member of the Toledo Region Committee. “Until now, however, we literally haven’t been on the same page in communicating those strengths. Now we have the ability to do so.”


A consortium committed to adoption


The newly defined regional brand was introduced to local media and a group of more than 100 business leaders and local media on June 16. The committee is currently developing a plan for large-scale implementation. Significantly, each of the committee member organizations has committed to integrating key messages of the brand platform into their own communications.


Adopting a best practices approach


As part of the development effort, Applied Storytelling conducted a series of six community forums throughout the region, convened six work sessions with regional opinion leaders and conducted a public survey that generated several hundred responses. At the same time, Toledo-based Great Lakes Marketing conducted a research effort geared to gathering opinion and insight from more than 100 regional business leaders.


“From the outset, the committee was committed to pursuing a best practices approach,” says Dave Nolan, President of Destination Toledo, the region’s tourism and convention marketing organization, who convened the committee in early 2009. “We knew that the keys to widespread adoption and long-term success rested in an effort that was as inclusive and transparent as possible.”


Unified story, differentiated positionings


The communications platform developed by Applied Storytelling included distinct positionings, messages and storylines for economic development, quality of life, education and leisure tourism, with economic development identified as the lead component of the region’s overall brand story.


“On one hand, the region will benefit from a cohesive story that is emotionally engaging and easy to understand,” says Eric La Brecque, Principal of Applied Storytelling. “On the other, the days of one-size-fits all messaging to serve the many agendas of an entity as complex and diverse as an entire region are long gone.”


Competitive research validated the committee’s decision to focus overall brand positioning around leadership in the New Manufacturing Economy—manufacturing enabled by digital technologies, sophisticated systems and processes, and a highly-trained workforce. In addition to being highly differentiating, the clarity and sharp definition of this positioning reflect a level of brand discipline that relatively few regions have been able to achieve.


Creating an open, accessible content hub


The Toledo Region brand platform will be placed on the initiative’s initial web site, www.toledoregionstory.com, together with other background materials. Initial implementation plans call for developing a robust site as a dynamic communications hub and content-rich resource for any individual or organization seeking to integrate the region’s story into their own brand marketing initiatives.

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