SOURCE: Greater Cleveland Marketing Alliance

April 26, 2007 12:37 ET

Everyone's a Plus in Cleveland+

Marketing Campaign Aimed at Strengthening Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 26, 2007 -- Northeast Ohio's draw as a powerful, dynamic location for business and tourism is the centerpiece of Cleveland+, a unique regional marketing effort being launched today.

Its goals: drive business, tourism and convention business to the region and instill pride and unity among our region's more than 4 million residents, encouraging them to become the region's ambassadors.

Months of research have shaped the campaign's clear, bold vision: Northeast Ohio is a powerful, dynamic region with rich cultural, recreational and educational assets and exciting business opportunities.

Cleveland+ was launched by the Greater Cleveland Marketing Alliance, a group created last year by the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), one of the nation's largest chambers of commerce; TeamNEO, Northeast Ohio's regional economic development organization; and the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland (CVB). A GCP-sponsored task force put forth the idea for the alliance in 2005, which drew participation from organizations throughout the region, including chambers of commerce, convention and visitors' bureaus, economic development organizations, businesses and political leaders in Northeast Ohio. The alliance also announced that effective immediately, it would change its name to Cleveland+ Marketing Alliance.

More than $3.5 million is being invested in the campaign this year, with the money coming from corporate and foundation donors and the marketing budget of the CVB. Another $5 million already has been pledged for the next two years, and fundraising is continuing to sustain the campaign even further.

"This is the first campaign to put Northeast Ohio's regional assets together under a common brand -- Cleveland+," said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman. "Business attraction programs and travel and tourism efforts around the region will be able to use the Cleveland+ logo and marketing materials in their individual campaigns, which will help provide consistency and frequency of impressions."

A key component of the Cleveland+ Marketing Alliance campaign is a new web site, It will serve as a portal to the region for those interested in moving or expanding a business here, traveling to Northeast Ohio, holding conventions or meetings in the region, and for residents wishing to learn how they can participate in the Cleveland+ effort. Additional elements of the campaign are being rolled-out in the coming weeks and months, including a talent attraction program.

Campaign organizers are asking Northeast Ohio residents to take digital pictures and short videos of their favorite things that will be placed on the web site under a section headed, "What's Your Plus in Cleveland+?" They should be e-mailed to Regional media, including The Plain Dealer, Clear Channel outdoor and radio and have all pledged support for the campaign.

The campaign draws on the region's strengths and diversity in the arts, manufacturing, sports, medicine, education, technology, the outdoors and especially its people, said Rick Batyko, spokesperson for the campaign. "You can go from Ashtabula to Lorain-Elyria, or from Cleveland to Akron, or Canton, or Youngstown and find fabulous businesses, facilities and people. This effort is not just about Cleveland. It's about the 'plus' that represents everything and everyone in Northeast Ohio. Our assets abound everywhere."

Cleveland+ is aimed primarily at people outside of Northeast Ohio who make or influence business and travel decisions. Each marketing tactic will be targeted and measured, such as increased positive media coverage of Northeast Ohio, inquiries generated by ads and direct mail and traffic to the Cleveland+ web site. Changes in tactics will be evaluated as needed to be sure every dollar is put to the best use, Batyko added.

"It's time for our region to aggressively seek new business investment," said Tom Waltermire, CEO of TeamNEO. "We've been quiet for too long about all that we have to offer. This is a fresh, new approach and it's been enthusiastically received throughout our testing."

Campaign backers also see the importance of making people in Northeast Ohio ambassadors of the region.

"The message we deliver outside needs to be reinforced when people come here for tourism or think about relocating here," said Dennis Roche, president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland. "What they hear from hotel front desk staffs, merchants and people in line at the coffee shop should be strong, consistent and meaningful."

Local corporations are financing the campaign. Those pledging support to date are: Cleveland Clinic; Eaton Corporation; Ernst & Young; Forest City Enterprises; KeyCorp; Medical Mutual of Ohio; National City Corporation; Parker Hannifin, RPM Inc.; Sherwin Williams; Squire, Sanders & Dempsey; and University Hospitals.

The Cleveland+ Marketing Alliance is also benefiting from a matching grant program of the Ohio Business Development Coalition. Up to $660,000 is available to the alliance for business attraction and marketing efforts.

Editors Note: Full details about the campaign and how it was developed, including camera-ready art of the logo and supporting materials, is available at

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