“Once you hear that story two or three times, you start to say, ‘There’s something here,’” says Engage president Ashley Basile Oeken.
She and her team, with funding support from JumpStart Cleveland, Winding River Consulting's Gary Shamis and the state of Ohio, launched Discover Cleveland in June. The social media marketing campaign targets ads at young professionals whose jobs in bigger cities have gone remote, or who are looking for other opportunities spurred by the pandemic.
While Engage’s pillars have always been to engage, retain and attract YPs to Northeast Ohio, Basile Oeken says historically its been focused on engagement through events such as its annual YP Week and more.
“But what we found is we were sort of handed an opportunity to promote Cleveland as a place that these individuals could stay and live and work,” she says.
Engage identified three sets of young professional personas — those with growing families, couples without kids and singles — and targeted them with ads on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram touting features of the city that would appeal to each.
Singles are looking for nightlife and networking options, while couples might be looking for a starter home or apartment to settle down together. For the growing families, Engage discovered they were looking for two main things: room to grow and communities to belong to. The fact that Cuyahoga County’s median home sale value is $142,282, more than $100,000 lower than Chicago’s Cook County and nearly $400,000 lower than counties surrounding New York, doesn’t hurt.
“We’re definitely still talking about the fact that Cleveland has big city amenities,” says Basile Oeken. “But there’s definitely a shift towards people wanting homes and space and yards and privacy.”
And every group shared the desire for shorter commute times, quality health care and affordable housing. All of which Cleveland offers, says Basile Oeken.
“At the end of the day right now,” she says, “it’s a little bit more about just basic needs.”
11:00 AM EST
August 3, 2020