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New #lifeincbus Campaign Aims to Lure Millennials to Columbus

Walker Evans Walker Evans New #lifeincbus Campaign Aims to Lure Millennials to Columbus
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Experience Columbus launched a new external marketing campaign today that targets a young audience in specific markets where relocation potential is high. #lifeincbus is the name of the campaign, which features a lifestyle portal website that is designed to expose Millennials to what Columbus has to offer.

“The real impetus for this campaign is the challenge that we all talk about, which is our lack of a distinct image,” explains Amy Tillinghast, VP of Marketing at Experience Columbus. “Lots of times that conversation immediately goes to branding the city or coming up with a new tagline, but that’s not our goal here at all. What we’re trying to do is plant seeds so that when people have an opportunity to come to Columbus, they will. The call to action is not just about the visit, but about the whole experience.”

The campaign is launching today in the Chicago and Washington DC markets with a focus on “young transitionals” — a demographic that Tillinghast describes as 25 to 35 in age, influential in their social circles, entrepreneurial, creative, willing to contribute and most importantly… willing to relocate in the next three to five years.

“We’ve focused on Chicago and DC because they are large population centers with a heightened awareness of Columbus,” she says. “There are large employers there and large opportunities for us.”

The campaigns include wallscape billboards powered by Columbus-based Orange Barrel Media, transit-based advertising in metro stations, elevator videos in high rise office buildings, and online rich-media ads targeted toward local blogs and websites with a young readership.

The #lifeincbus website functions as a portal of aggregated content from local media outlets, instagram hashtags, twitter accounts and other curated content.

“We know young transitionals don’t want to be marketed to, so we’re putting this campaign in front of them that gives them the real deal,” says Tillinghast. “There’s even content from Columbus Underground in there, because CU talks about such a variety of things in the city, and offers a unique perspective on the community.”

In a recent interview with urban planning expert Aaron Renn of Urbanophile.com, he shared with CU Urban Development Writer Brent Warren that this type of recruitment effort is exactly what more cities need to be attemping.

“We want to compete for corporate locations but we don’t think about competing for the people,” shared Renn. “I see it only being done at a very small scale around the country. Sometimes you have to be willing to just constantly be singing the praises of the city in a way that the person you’re talking to can imagine themselves being a part of that story, like ‘how do I fit into the Columbus story?’.”

For more information, visit www.lifeincbus.com.

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