Economic development: an app for that

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

 

BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

05.22.13 Blog iPad02Sean Robbins, CEO of Greater Portland Inc., dropped by the OB offices yesterday to demonstrate a new economic development app aimed at marketing the Portland region through storytelling. The Greater PDX For Business app, which launches today, was developed by digital marketing agency Storycode.

Economic development agencies continue to take a "very antiquated and static approach to marketing," said Robbins. “Statistics and rankings don’t sell communities. Stories sell.” 

Robbins, it should be noted, has a penchant for telling stories. During a Greater Portland Inc. luncheon last year, he delivered an out-of-the-box keynote narrating the very personal life stories of his grandparents and parents and how they progressively improved their economic standing.

Back at OB, with the aid of his iPad mini, Robbins touch-screened his way through the app, which is organized around 6 “chapters" propelling the Portland narrative: economy, innovation, cost, education, community and exports/manufacturing.  A model of “data visualization,” the app features creative representations of all kinds of data comparing Portland to other cities, such as an interactive footprint depicting five-year growth in the number of people who walk to work: Portland, 12.2%, San Jose -3.7%.

The app also features six Oregon CEOs talking about why they chose to locate or grow their companies in Oregon, including Icebreaker USA CEO Lisa Thompson, Raghu Raghavan from Act-On Software, and Urban Airship’s Scott Kveton. 

The result is a comprehensive 21st century marketing tool that combines the look and feel of a tourism ad campaign with the data sets and rankings companies and CEOs are looking for.

Greater Portland Inc. has had its eye on such an app for some time, but the expense was prohibitive, says Greater Portland Inc. marketing director Maggie Davis.  Then Storycode, which was recently acquired by TigerLogic, stepped up with a philanthropic offer; the company would build the app for free, although costs will accrue going forward.

Storycode, of course, is a member of Portland's burgeoning software/mobile development business cluster, a cluster featured on the new mobile app.

Linking individual businesses, economic clusters and cities is one of the goals driving the app project. Robbins says he wants to cut through all the "noise" and divisions surrounding local economic development — noise that includes unproductive competition between different cities and the perennial debate about whether quality of life or traditional metrics such as employment and taxes are more important in growing the local economy.

Economic development apps aren't new, but most focus on a single aspect such as land or permitting, says Robbins.

Greater PDX For Business is the first to focus on selling an entire community, he says. "We're narrating a better story."

Linda Baker keeps tabs on CEOs and public policy issues.

 

More Articles

Editor's Letter: Tortoise and the Hare

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015

The day after this issue goes to press, the city of Medford will host its annual business conference. The event features Minoli Ratnatunga, co-author of the Milken Institute’s annual “Best-Performing Cities” report. Preliminary data suggests that Medford is likely to retain its No. 1 ranking among best-performing small cities for having a higher concentration of high-tech firms than the national average. 


Read more...

Ski traffic

Linda Baker
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

The city as startup

Guest Blog
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
011415 citystartup-thumbBY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Startups in the growth phase are associated with a fresh infusion of capital — human and financial — a curiosity factor and products to disrupt the market and drive demand. Portland’s economy gives off the same aroma.


Read more...

Tweeting Portland's State of the City address

News
Friday, January 30, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.08.19 PMBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

For those who were working, here are a few highlights of Charlie Hales' State of the City address.


Read more...

Taking the lead in boosting Oregonians’ health and strengthening our economy

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 08, 2015
0108-injection-thumbBY CAMBIA HEALTH SOLUTIONS & OREGON BUSINESS COUNCIL | OP-ED

Businesses have a significant stake in the health of Oregonians. In fact, we cannot succeed without it. By committing to using our companies as levers for good health, we invest in our people, our business, our quality of life and our economy. 


Read more...

Where do Portland demographics rank among the largest 50 cities in the US?

The Latest
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
thumbpdxinperspectiveBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Portland in Perspective study, done by the City Budget Office, was released Tuesday.


Read more...

Closing the Gap: The two Oregons and the way forward

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

"Nostalgia is not an economic strategy."


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS