As president of FCPRA, I’m not about to go lightly into the dark when it comes to our community of public relations, advertising and marketing folks in Connecticut. I have always been a bit of a doer, so with the help of the association’s board, I crafted a letter to Gov. Malloy (with a copy to Sen. Frantz) to suggest calls to action on how Connecticut can become a hub for our professions.
You’ve all heard me talk about the importance of localism, and I challenged the governor to engage our communities and bring folks in our industry to our towns and neighborhoods. A large percentage of us who wake up, bleary-eyed, to take the train every day to Manhattan for work are bona fide and baked-in Connecticut locals. I’ve asked the governor to optimize the talent we have here and create a culture that stimulates not only our vocation but also our community.
My aim is to educate our state government on the fact that we do not have a major marketing/PR/ad concern in Connecticut and that we as a state have never courted (to my knowledge) such services or enticed big firms to join our towns and cities.
In a prime example of reverse flight, big businesses such as Aetna, Diageo, GE and Pitney Bowes are returning to New York City and beyond, because there are few choices for service firms that support big operations that are looking for Connecticut terra firma. And if you look at the hard statistics, it’s not a pretty time for PR professionals in our fair state. PR jobs are tending more than ever to be dispersed throughout the nation, closer to clients, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If that was not enough of a sting, no fewer than 27 Fortune 1,000 companies are headquartered in Connecticut (as of 2009), but no major PR offices are domiciled here. Contrast that with Michigan, which counts 32 Fortune 1,000 headquarters and has everyone big in Detroit; WPP alone employs hundreds in the metro area. But overall, PR specialist jobs are expected to rise nationwide between now and 2018, so why not have more of those jobs here?
In the Huffington Post on June 6, I argued that in light of the recent trend of localization, companies need to go local to microtarget potential customers and to attract talent, build pride, revitalize towns and grow local communities—and that government can encourage these positive outcomes by creating incentives for business to go smaller-town and foster a prosperous local environment.
I know all too well the PR profession’s ironic inability to self-promote, but I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip by us while the governor is making the rounds to determine his areas of focus in his new job-creation mission. Connecticut’s creative corridor needs to start proudly selling itself, boasting even of its unparalleled talent pool and proximity, lifestyle oasis and community of collaborative spirits. It’s not without reason to imagine a time when Connecticut could be a nexus for all things PR, marketing and advertising.
The board and I concluded our letter by inviting Gov. Malloy and Sen. Frantz to talk to us and establish a dialogue about creating more marketing/PR/ad jobs in Connecticut. If you have any suggestions about how to enhance this offer, my digital door is always open.
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