The Allegheny Conference on Community Development has revealed a new campaign to market the Pittsburgh region to businesses, workers and tourists. (Stock image)

Business Leaders Unite to Tell the Story of Pittsburgh

Most people know about Pittsburgh’s industrial past.

What many people don’t know—particularly those in international business—is what’s happened in recent years: the Pittsburgh Renaissance; Pittsburgh the tech powerhouse; Pittsburgh the Most Livable City.

Last week, the region took a major step forward when the Allegheny Conference on Community Development released a new brand—Pittsburgh Region. Next is Now.—as part of a virtual kickoff for a new campaign to market the area to businesses, workers and tourists.

“If you’re in Pittsburgh, you know something is happening here. We’re a robotics hub, a top city for STEM professionals. We have emerging sectors with high-growth potential like life sciences and cybersecurity. And we’re a global leader in energy and manufacturing. The problem is, the world doesn’t know,” said Bill Demchak, president, CEO and chairman of PNC Financial Services Group and chair of the Allegheny Conference.

“Not having a widely adopted and common narrative for our region has us at a disadvantage. Unlike most of our peer regions, we’ve not been telling a unified story and as a result we’ve been leaving opportunity—in the form of investment, talent and visitors—on the table.”

That lack of a unified message and regional marketing plan was evident during the region’s 2017 bid for Amazon’s second headquarters, a competition that promised some 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment.

“The one thing that everyone told me repeatedly that was a big weakness in our work with Amazon was that we didn’t have a comprehensive message, a consistent story or a brand,” said Stefani Pashman, CEO of the Allegheny Conference, which led the bid. “The board immediately tasked me … to fix that.”

Officials said the new brand will make the Pittsburgh region a more compelling option for businesses looking for new opportunities. The new brand narrative focuses on Pittsburgh as a unique region that has proven itself as a place where “next is now.” The brand focuses on positioning Pittsburgh as not just a region, but a large community of innovators, builders and makers determined to solve the world’s toughest problems. And it also aims to welcome new people and businesses looking to seize and opportunity.

“This region and our airport compete globally, whether it be for airline service, tourists or business investment,” said Pittsburgh International Airport CEO Christina Cassotis. “Air service development is economic development. We’re seeing that right now with new international cargo service we announced last month from Hong Kong. The communities that are effective are those that work together, and that’s a strength of Pittsburgh. We’re tapping the power of collaboration to market Pittsburgh in a fresh way. With one brand and one voice, all of our efforts can go further, faster.”

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