The Charlotte Regional Partnership, working with Luquire George Andrews on a two-year, $2.5 million "Charlotte USA" publicity campaign, announced that nine Charlotte region firms are listed in Fortune 500 rankings.
The partnership, a nonprofit, private/public organization focused on the bolstering the growth in the Charlotte region, is working to exploit the business and lifestyle opportunities in the Charlotte 16-county area. The area the group defines is roughly the size of Massachusetts and features 12 counties in North Carolina and 4 in South Carolina.
"We think that the combination of business strength, accessibility and quality of life in Charlotte is unique," said John Deem, VP of public relations at Luquire George Andrews.
"The fourth element is balance. Other places in the country and world may have those same elements in a higher or lesser degree. In Charlotte, they are in a unique balance at a level that can't be matched anywhere else," said Michael Almond, CEO and President of the Charlotte Regional Partnership.
Luquire, who has worked the partnership since 1991, and the partnership have run some national TV ads and taken care to highlight the quality of life segments. They publicized the cause both at the PGA Tour's Wachovia Championship and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600, where the partnership hosted some site selection consultants.
"[The consultants] got to watch the race from a box, and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson talked to them at lunch. Whenever there is an opportunity like that, we try to build publicity efforts around that," Deem said.
The partnership also does a cover wrap program, where Forbes and Fortune magazines are sent to firms and the covers have information about the area four times a year. It has also done some business-to-business marketing and e-mail blasts. Ads have also been run on CNN, CNBC, as well as in US Airways' magazine Attach?.
"I saw the ad on CNN today at 7:30," Almond said.
The Charlotte region's number of Fortune 500 firms has been buoyed in the past few years by the planned or completed relocation of Lowe's [ranked 50], SPX  and Goodrich , according to the partnership. Fortune only counted seven of the firms in the city of Charlotte, which ties the city for fifth place in the U.S. behind New York, Houston, Atlanta, and Chicago. Lowe's and Family Dollar were not included in Fortune's numbers for Charlotte because Lowe's had not yet relocated its corporate headquarters to Mooresville and Family Dollar's headquarters is in Mecklenburg County but not within city limits of Charlotte.
The two-year campaign will end sometime this fall. "We've been very pleased with it so far.
We'll have a detailed evaluation of where we are and we'll figure out how to go on from there," Almond said.