CHICAGO: Illinois has not traditionally been known as a tech hotbed.
CHICAGO: Illinois has not traditionally been known as a tech
But if the state’s higher-ups have anything to say about it, its stodgy
image may soon receive a hi-tech makeover courtesy of PR.
Gov. George Ryan is proposing a dollars 1 billion state hi-tech campaign
to build infrastructure and fund new tech projects. Included in that
proposal could be dollars 6 million for PR, marketing and advertising
designed to raise the state’s tech profile.
Area hi-tech PR pros said the effort is long overdue. ’We’ve got leading
universities, we’ve got capital, we’ve got entrepreneurship,’ said
Porter Novelli Convergence Group SVP Michael Young. ’One of the things
we don’t have is recognition.’ By way of example, he pointed to a
November Wall Street Journal story that discussed hot tech markets
without even mentioning Chicago.
Several groups - including The Illinois Coalition, a not-for-profit
state/private organization, and The Chicago Internet Marketing
Association - have ventured to improve the state’s hi-tech image. But an
overall lack of PR coordination has frustrated most attempts.
’Illinois efforts have really lacked focus,’ said Paul Rand, president
of Corporate Technology Communications. Still, he is optimistic that
this is about to change, noting that the governor is providing the
’building blocks’ needed to forge a credible PR message for companies in
the tech sector.
Paul Battaglia, deputy GM of PR21’s local outpost, said PR efforts on
the tech front should ’promote the city as a great place to operate a
business.’ Hill & Knowlton’s James Turano agreed: ’If there is money
going for PR and marketing, I would hope there is emphasis on the
entrepreneurial spirit that is here. This is not a barren wasteland of
technology knowledge and talent - there is a high talent base here.’
Governor Ryan’s program, seeks to funnel money to state universities and
stress biotechnology research. News of the plan broke at the start of
last week and garnered generally favorable reactions from
But some viewed the announcement as an attempt by Ryan to divert
attention away from an emerging scandal regarding his conduct when he
served as secretary of state. Growing questions could damage Ryan
politically and make it difficult for him to accomplish his legislative