Project Aims to Answer 'Why Northeast Indiana?'

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The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has unveiled an initiative designed to market the 10-county region in a "clear and compelling way." The Our Story Project will host workshops and enlist the expertise of employers, educators and media members to help boost the region's economic reputation. August 11, 2014

News Release

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A new project spearheaded by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership aims to discover the answer to "Why Northeast Indiana?" Who are we and where are we going as a region? What will we be known for? The Our Story Project will create a master narrative for the region, which will allow people and organizations in the region to tell a unified story about Northeast Indiana. The key messages developed from the project will be able to be tailored by economic development organizations, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, and the like, to tell the story of Northeast Indiana in a clear and compelling way.

"Many times we, as a region, get caught up in marketing the 'what' about our communities and region--how many lakes we have or how many buildings we have available. The Our Story Project will elevate our region's story and create a more consistent, engaging message to be used by multiple organizations from all 10 counties," said Courtney Tritch, vice president of marketing at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "Successful brands like Apple all market this way, and we are excited to engage people from across Northeast Indiana to write the authentic story of Northeast Indiana."

The goal of the Our Story Project is to discover who we are as a region and use that information to create a compelling story to collectively market Northeast Indiana. By aligning our marketing messages, organizations will be able to reinforce key themes; establish a strong reputation for the region; and make the region economically competitive on a global scale.

"To compete in the global marketplace, we must be able to tell Northeast Indiana's story consistently and effectively. We have learned of the tremendous potential that results from collaborating on regional projects and now it's time to use that same potential in telling our story," said John Sampson, president & CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "Through this process, we will become one voice with many accents, significantly increasing our effectiveness in connecting with critical audiences."

The project will be led by consultants Scott Ochander and Tyler Borders, using their proprietary consensus-building process so that everyone will have the opportunity to weigh in and affect the outcome. Northeast Indiana residents will be invited to participate in workshops that will be held across all 10 counties this fall (details to be released at the end of August). In addition, an online interactive tool will be developed to allow the general public to weigh in on the process.

The idea for this project originated from last year's regional exchange trip to Cincinnati. Over 50 Northeast Indiana leaders visited Cincinnati to learn from their best practices, and one of the top three takeaways from the trip was developing a master narrative similar to Cincinnati's efforts.

The Our Story Project Steering Committee includes Dr. Sherilyn Emberton (Huntington University), Helge Hinniger (Fort Wayne Metals), Paul Chodak (Indiana Michigan Power), Dan Kennedy (Best FM), Tom Leedy (Dekko Foundation), Don Osika (21Alive), Mike Packnett (Parkview Health), Rick Sherck (Noble County Economic Development Corporation) and Terry Ward (KPC Media).

For updated information about the Our Story Project--and to ensure your story becomes a part of our story, visit www.neindiana.com/ourstory.

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership focused on generating business leads and building regional capacity through product development and effective regional collaboration. The Northeast Indiana Fund (Fund) was created in 2005 to operate as a supporting organization of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, focused specifically on product development and regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. Through its combined efforts in business development and capacity building, the Partnership supports its 10 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit www.NEIndiana.com.

About the consultants

Ochander Consulting Group (OCG) - Scott Ochander, CEO of OCG, pioneered a consensus-building reputation management model in sectors where stakeholders matters, like government, universities and non-profits. Now he's bringing transformation to companies and industries of all shapes and sizes.

Tyler Borders Consulting - A former agency creative director, entrepreneur and founder of four startups, and now owner of Tyler Borders Consulting, Tyler transforms brands and builds insightful and intelligent communication platforms. He's a strategist and full spectrum creative problem-solver that isn't satisfied working on the surface of a brand challenge.

Source: Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership