MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Department of Commerce today unveiled a new business-to-business brand for the state: Made In Alabama. The brand launch is backed by the introduction of the Department's ground-breaking new website, MadeInAlabama.com, which tells Alabama's economic development story through sharable news content.
The branding and marketing initiative resulted from a set of recommendations included in Accelerate Alabama, the Strategic Economic Development Plan presented by the Economic Development Alliance of Alabama and adopted by Governor Robert Bentley in January of 2012.
"Accelerate Alabama called for us, through the Department of Commerce, to develop a strategic and effective marketing plan for reaching site consultants and company representatives from across the world," Governor Bentley said. "Made In Alabama answers that call and goes one step further by reminding people here at home that we have a lot to be proud of."
Proof of Alabama's recent economic development accomplishments was also announced today when Governor Bentley shared the Department of Commerce's 2012 New and Expanding Industries report. The report shows a 32 percent increase year-over-year in capital investment in the state of Alabama from new and expanding industries. In 2012, companies announced $5,405,382,649 in investment and 20,847 new jobs coming to Alabama.
Stories of many of the companies and industries delivering these jobs to Alabama can be found at MadeInAlabama.com, which centers around original and aggregated news content in topics including manufacturing, workforce, innovation and infrastructure.
The website builds on a growing global marketing trend in which brands are becoming online publishers in order to increase engagement with their customers. Stories are written in a journalistic style, going far beyond the traditional press release-filled newsroom to include articles that people not only want to read but also share across social platforms. What makes the department's online news content unique is that rather than boosting a brand, this content is telling the story of a state and coming from an authoritative and unbranded source: the Alabama Department of Commerce.
"When we looked at cost-effective ways to tell the whole story of what is happening here in Alabama as well as the incredible potential for continued growth, there was no question that this online news platform should be the foundation for our marketing efforts," said Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield. "Alabama is at the cutting edge when it comes to high-tech industrial manufacturing and groundbreaking medical research, and we need to deliver a marketing program just as sophisticated."
Stories initially featured on the website include an in-depth look at efforts to recruit Airbus suppliers to support the aviation giant's first U.S. manufacturing plant, set to break ground in Mobile in April; an article about almost-complete Interstate 22 in northwest Alabama and how it is creating opportunity for growth in rural counties; a story and photo gallery about Alabama's 24-hour Hyundai auto plant; an examination of research activities at Huntsville's HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology; and even an article about a unique candy manufacturer in Birmingham that is shipping its products to more than 50 countries across the globe.
The Made In Alabama brand and website was designed and developed by Alabama-based public relations and advertising agency Big Communications. Original news content is being produced by a network of Alabama business writers specializing in economic development and technology.
About the Alabama Department of Commerce
An extension of the Office of Governor Robert Bentley, the Alabama Department of Commerce is responsible for leading and maintaining economic development across the state. Its divisions include business development, small business advocacy, international trade, the Alabama Film Office and AIDT, Alabama's award-winning workforce training initiative. For more information, visit www.MadeInAlabama.com.