ICR IOWA Pivots Focus to External Regional Marketing
Dec 16, 2020
The ICR Iowa Board recently announced changes to the regional organization that began in 2016 as a Joint Venture between the Iowa City Area Development Group and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.
Beginning in 2021, ICR Iowa will execute a Strategic Marketing Plan for business attraction and talent attraction (outside of ICR Iowa). The plan will focus on external marketing to elevate awareness and the profile of the ICR region to targeted audiences and will include key performance indicators. Responsibilities will include managing the ICR brand, supporting social media channels, finding innovative ways to share the ICR Region’s story with external markets, and creating a cohesive story about the region’s assets and unique characteristics. The new focus necessitated the Board’s decision to eliminate the position of President / CEO, which had been held by Jennifer Daly since 2017.
“We’ve come a long way from a conceptual idea to a strong regional organization since 2016, and Jennifer was a big part of that,” said ICR Board Chair Lydia Brown. “This path forward ensures a continued commitment to regionalism, and it’s the right thing to do right now.”
The Board chairs of ICAD (Todd Means) and the Economic Alliance (Chris Skogman) agreed, jointly saying “there’s a strong mutual commitment to our regional partnership and the narrowed focus on regional marketing makes sense for both of our organizations as we head into an uncertain 2021 with new economic headwinds.”
The new focus also has received strong support from the city managers of Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, both of whom have served on a task force looking at the Joint Venture.
“Regional cooperation thrives among our communities,” said Jeff Pomeranz, Cedar Rapids City Manager. “The renewed focus of ICR Iowa to market our region is well supported and only adds to the ability to attract businesses and workforce.”
In a difficult 2020 where resources and focuses were considerably narrowed, the decision to pivot the regional organization’s focus comes after strong analysis of challenging financial headwinds in both inaugural joint venture organizations.
“It is not news that this year was difficult in a variety of ways,” said Geoff Fruin, Iowa City City Manager. “But there is agreement that the most important element for the future of our regional growth is to make external audiences aware of our unique assets.”
The collective boards are working together to continue the work and momentum started by ICR Iowa in regional business attraction, talent attraction, workforce initiatives and the three broadly supported regional coalitions – ICR Future, Inclusive ICR and ICR Talent. There is strong commitment for this work to be sustained without interruption.