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Community partners to drive #ilovejax campaign in 2012

Community partners will drive #ilovejax in 2012, a campaign that started in October as the Innovate Northeast Florida project preliminary findings identified the region’s image of itself as a key area for improvement.

The media attention surrounding the JAX region’s need to regain its “swagger” helped launch #ilovejax naturally and contributed to its momentum and interest on Facebook and Twitter. The number sign “#” is also known as a hashtag, which is used to mark keywords or topics on Twitter. The hashtag in the name, #ilovejax, will encourage others to use it on social media and provide the ability to track the online conversation. Regardless of the medium where the name is used, it represents the ongoing conversation about what makes the JAX region dynamic.

In order to keep up the energy and continue to remind people of the many great reasons to love JAX, community partners are joining together to spread the message and to develop their own methods to increase excitement and interest among residents.

“We want everyone throughout Northeast Florida to own #ilovejax and for it to take on a life of its own,” said Hugh Greene, 2011 Chamber chair and president and chief executive officer of Baptist Health.

The Innovate Northeast Florida official Phase 2 report stated that economic development marketing begins at home, and a community’s ability to tell its story at home is paramount to its success at marketing itself to the world.

“Jacksonville is a great city and we plan to show the world how much we love it,” said Tom Van Berkel, the 2012 chair for JAX Chamber and chairman and chief executive officer of property/casualty insurance company The Main Street America Group. “This is a grassroots campaign that will encourage local residents to praise our region to their family, friends, colleagues and visitors.”

The report identified entrepreneurship as a strength and “alive and well in Northeast Florida,” with startup activity exceeding many of the benchmark regions. Transportation infrastructure, including the port, airport, rail and highways, was reported as a strength and an advantage. Growth in the technology industry was seen as a positive trend.

In addition to improving the region’s self-image, the report stated that investing in improvements and increasing skilled career opportunities should be priorities that will help remedy a declining young adult population. The Phase 3 report will include an action plan that addresses this challenge and each target industry in regards to workforce development, business development, entrepreneurship, and marketing.

“If our community feels good about the city and region, it will positively impact how others outside of our region feel, which improves our ability to attract businesses, jobs and investment,” said Innovate Northeast Florida co-chair Bob Rhodes, an attorney with Foley & Lardner. “The #ilovejax name helps residents recognize and express the passion they have for our city and region.”

The campaign will highlight different themes each month to ensure the messaging is new and exciting. All messaging and communication tactics will revolve around the themes and use the name #ilovejax.

There are a number of partners already committed to developing their own methods to driving the campaign and the monthly themes. Partners include businesses, non-profit organizations, government entities and the media. Organizers will continue to meet with potential partners in the region to seek additional commitments and support.

For more information and to become a partner of #ilovejax, please contact Michelle Danisovszky at 904-366-6641 or michelle.danisovszky@myjaxchamber.com.

A team of national consultants are helping facilitate the Innovate Northeast Florida project, including Avalanche Consulting, McCallum Sweeney Consulting, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and Infinity Global Solutions. The project is funded by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and WorkSource. A copy of the Phase 2 report is available at www.innovatenortheastflorida.com.

The JAX Chamber is the business membership organization dedicated to driving quality economic growth in Northeast Florida to make this region the best place to work, live and play.

JAXUSA Partnership is the regional economic development organization comprised of almost 200 top private sector investors in Northeast Florida, including the JEDC, JEA, JAXPORT, JAA, JTA, WorkSource and the regional county partners – Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties. A division of the JAX Chamber, its purpose is to facilitate the creation and retention of quality jobs and significant capital investment, resulting in a higher standard of living and better quality of life in Northeast Florida.


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