Delaware begins branding effort to build its economy

DOVER, DE: In the latest attempt to resolve its perpetual identity

crisis, the state of Delaware has hired local PR shop Reese, Tomases &

Ellick (RT&E) to run a branding campaign aimed at attracting tourism and

business investment.



"All the research done by the state and by us confirms a central fact:

No one has a clue about Delaware," laughed RT&E president Charles

"Chick" Housam. "As opposed to having a bad image, Delaware simply has

no image at all." The tiny state reported a population of 784,000 in

2000.



The Delaware Economic Development Office is seeking to remedy that with

this $600,000-a-year campaign, scheduled to run for up to five

years.



RT&E will center its efforts on the slogan, "It's good being first,"

referring to the fact that Delaware was the first state to adopt the US

Constitution.



Target audiences for the campaign, according to Housam, "run the gamut

from corporate relocation experts to tourism targets," which he

described as households with an average yearly income of $75,000

and above, living within two to three hours' driving distance of the

state. (See Market Focus, p. 17.)



RT&E signed the contract in September following a competition involving

a handful of local agencies.



The integrated campaign - on which initial work has already begun - will

formally launch in March of 2002.



This is not the first time the state has attempted to brand itself.

Delaware adopted the tagline "small wonder" 20 years ago, but "they

never did anything with it. It just languished there for 20 years," said

Housam. "If we're going to get our fair share of the development

opportunities and our fair share of tourism dollars, we have to do

something with it."



RT&E, which has appointed a team of seven to the account, is a

43-year-old integrated advertising and PR shop in Delaware boasting a

staff of 55 and 2000 billings in excess of $50 million. Major

clients include DuPont, GE Capital, and the Delaware State Lottery.



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