What makes Denver special? Business leaders say its "The Elevation Effect"

·2 min read

For two years, Denver-area economic development leaders studied a simple yet ethereal question: What makes Denver, Denver?

The answer they landed on is the name of a new branding campaign the Metro Denver Economic Development Commission officially debuts this morning: "The Elevation Effect."

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Why it matters: The slogan is designed to help Denver differentiate its business spirit from other cities when wooing employers to the region — a competitive space that is increasingly important in the pandemic-era economic landscape.

IMAGE: Courtesy of the Denver Metro Economic Development Commission

Between the lines: The golden-ticket contest in 2017 for Amazon's second headquarters sparked the discussion.

  • Economic development leaders conceded a lack of cohesion hampered their HQ2 pitch.

  • And like other cities, some of the existing marketing materials tried to be all things to all people, muddling the message.

State of play: The soul-searching began with quantifying what company executives who had relocated to the area often told the new Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO, J.J. Ament:

"There's just something about Colorado — there's just something about Denver."

What they did: The data points that informed the city’s fresh brand came from an audit of 16 competitor cities and a study of the workforce's perceptions of the area.

  • In addition, researchers pulled together focus groups with communities of color and low-wage workers about how social unrest and the pandemic affected attitudes toward Denver.

  • The commission received data from aggregated psychological assessments conducted by Myers Briggs to identify traits and attributes of the local workforce.

What they're saying: The final product helps "explain this special sauce of metro Denver," Ament told Axios Denver ahead of the launch.

  • "This is something that we want everybody to latch on to when they are describing business in our region," he added.

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