Date of Project
This Trek Included
Marketing Campaign, Phase One
Southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, and eastern Ohio contain one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing companies in the United States.
Trailhead: Where We Started
As of 2015, Pittsburgh alone was home to more than 103,000 jobs in automation and industrial machinery; metals and metal processing; chemicals; engineering services; electronics; and energy. Advanced manufacturing in post-recession Pittsburgh is growing at a rate that is 2.5 times higher than that of the Pittsburgh economy as a whole. Sector expansion coupled with new job opportunities and an aging workforce has created a growing gap of 30,000 unfilled positions in advanced manufacturing.
The federal Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) program encourages communities to develop comprehensive economic development strategies that promise to strengthen their ability to attract global manufacturer and supply chain investments. The Greater Pittsburgh Metals Manufacturing Community (GPMMC) is one of twenty-four designated IMCP communities in the country. It is a partnership of regional government, higher education, industry, workforce, and economic development organizations led by Catalyst Connection.
Trek: Steps We’ve Taken
To address advanced manufacturing workforce needs in the greater Pittsburgh region, Catalyst Connection hired Denny Civic Solutions and strategic partners, TrailBlaze Creative and Green Dot Public Relations, to conceptualize and implement a holistic marketing campaign to drive targeted audiences to action. The team conducted market research, which determined that creatives in the maker movement possess the skills necessary to fill the manufacturing workforce gap expanding throughout the region. A strategic communications plan was created to direct targeted messages to core and tangential audiences of the campaign, focusing on the theme of “Making Your Future.”
As part of the Making Your Future campaign, TrailBlaze Creative led daily activities of the effort, which centered around developing an informative website connecting makers/job seekers and manufacturers, as well as a video series showcasing modern manufacturing as an innovative environment requiring the skills which makers possess. During this process, the TrailBlaze team worked to assist with talent acquisition, sourcing video production, locating shooting venues, scripting, and post-production support. The team also created a social media strategy and managed various social media accounts, including paid social advertising and optimized posting aligned with other partners and larger pro-manufacturing efforts. The Making Your Future project was aligned and featured as a critical initiative with the Brookings Institute’s release of its “Capturing the next economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city” report. This alignment provided an opportunity for TrailBlaze to promote the project to multiple regional and state-wide media outlets, culminating in a public campaign launch in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) Secretary and Allegheny County Executive at a media event hosted by a premier makerspace in Pittsburgh.
Summit: Vision Realized
With the campaign running six months from conception to execution, more than 95,000 people throughout the region have been reached using Facebook alone in the final month of the project. This does not include more than 8,800 video views and 2,100 social engagements over that same month. While the online engagement has been positive and successful, earned media support for the campaign has been equally encouraging, resulting in more than 200,000 campaign impressions through regional and state-wide sources. TrailBlaze and its partners have also represented the campaign to C-level regional stakeholders, private sector manufacturers, higher education administrators, and the maker community. Following a public launch of the campaign with the Secretary of the PADCED during manufacturing week, the support from state and regional legislators has helped draw an awareness to the campaign and support of the innovation ecosystem. By including the maker community in the project’s process, the interest in the campaign and overall campaign support has exceeded expectations. As a result of collaboration with TrailBlaze Creative, Making Your Future campaign partners and regional stakeholders feel empowered to take ownership of the regional workforce gap and now have a brand and tools that can cohesively support their efforts.