The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (MVPC) is a public, non-profit organization established in 1959 to assist the Valley’s 15 cities and towns in finding creative, sustainable solutions that address issues related to transportation, the environment, land use, and economic development.
While the MVPC has been around for 60 years, they are definitely not closing in on retirement. Instead of slowing down, they partnered with Primary to help breathe new life into a region that’s evolving it’s next identity with a new website, foundational brand assets, and messaging to help attract business to the region.
The Challenge: Lots of Deciders
The assignment was to build a messaging platform that excites, inspires and motivates an audience to join a revitalization of a vast and diverse region, all while making sure it served the interests of all the key stakeholders who have really high standards: the 15 mayors of the Merrimack Valley.
The Solution: Personalizing the Story
Understanding the Audience
MVPC partnered with Primary to strategically navigate toward their goal by first making sure they understood not just who they should be talking to, but how and where to begin those conversations.
We created a roundtable – consisting of local and state government staff, private companies, and non-profit organizations – to vet the assets, challenges and unappreciated qualities of the Merrimack Valley. To understand why the region is a great place to do business, we conducted interviews with nearly 40 stakeholders representing local businesses, Chambers of Commerce, business associations, non-profit organizations and entrepreneurs to determine existing attitudes and perceptions of the Merrimack Valley Region, as well as the opportunities and challenges to enhancing the region’s image.
Primary uncovered the commonalities through brand research and then strategy and positioning to unite the Merrimack Valley ‘Here for the Making’ to promote the manufacturing roots and crafted personalized success stories by hometowners to attract other hometowners to come back and do business in the place that they know and love.
Unifying with a Singular Position
Primary developed a unifying platform for all that rings true to the region’s DNA of homegrown, solo-preneur, and entrepreneur makers: the optimistic position that Merrimack Valley is Here for the Making. Our storytelling platform, that “Knowledge Runs Deep in the Valley,” enables our audience to hear about the obstacles to success from those who’ve blazed the tough trail before.
A New Online Hub for the Valley
We took economic development to a new level by creating an all-encompassing website at wearemv.com and brand that promotes business resources; priority development areas; unique assets in each community; for lease/sale properties to grow existing and start new businesses; and data that will help businesses make smart decisions about how to be successful in the Valley.
Because the tools embedded in the site were such high priority, we redeveloped the property search tool from the old site. We fully redesigned and redeveloped this tool to provide searchable map view and table view, to use 360-degree aerial photography, and provide detailed listings for every available property.
We dialed up storytelling on the site by authoring several long-form articles with original photography and videos that included insightful interviews with successful startups. One business owner featured on the site, Peter Russo, president at Blackburn Energy, had this to say about our storytelling: “Primary provided compelling videos and copy for the MVPC website that features our startup as a success story. It’s clear that Primary understands how to capture a story in mediums for a B2B audience.”
Results: Growing Community Online
In this comprehensive campaign, we delivered industry-leading solutions to client pain points on all fronts: rebranding, repositioning, content strategy and marketing, SEO strategy, high-end web design and full-stack web app development. To date, site traffic is up 300% and new visitors are up 500%.
But beyond the initial stats, what matters most is that the campaign has been embraced as strategically smart, creatively provocative, and functionally rich by many constituents, enabling MVPC to become a go-to resource for the knowledge and tools needed to be a successful part of the rebirth of the region.