Fall Trend Report

082310FEATURE.jpg Fall Trend Report
City named innovation hub

With powerhouse players like Procter & Gamble, Kroger and Macy's, Cincinnati is now defining and making a name for itself as a global hub of consumer marketing. Find out how this new definition brought a $250,000 grant and a wealth of growth opportunities.

It all started with a memo. And I'm not talking about the type of memo that gets lost in "Office Space." No, this memo has stuck around for almost 80 years, and its impact is immeasurable. Neil McElroy, who at the time was in Procter & Gamble's advertising department but later became P&G president and United States Secretary of Defense, wrote the memo, which outlined a branding strategy. Several sources including TIME Magazine now credit McElroy's strategy as the foundation for the modern system of brand management. And it all started in Cincinnati.


McElroy's memo, combined with Cincinnati's major market players like Kroger, P&G and Macy's and top public relations and marketing companies like LPK and Northlich, only make it make sense that the Queen City be recognized as a hub for consumer marketing. And last month Governor Ted Strickland made that recognition by announcing Cincinnati USA as the Ohio Hub of Innovation and Opportunity in Consumer Marketing. 061410VALLEYVIEW.GIF


The Definition Begins


  P&G began in 1837. Kroger began in 1883. Many of the other major consumer-marketing related companies have been established in Cincinnati for decades. So why the designation now?


"[As a city,] we have never really tried to establish or carve out a specific niche for ourselves in an industry like this, and we think this one makes great sense for us," says Doug Moormann, the vice president of economic development at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. "We think it's a space where we have the right to win. We think it's a differentiator for us … There is no one else in this country that is saying, 'We are a branding and marketing center.' "


The impetus for finding a niche came from Agenda 360. As the name alludes, Agenda 360 is an all-encompassing plan to improve the city, and business growth is just one of the sectors in focus under the plan. Under the business growth sector, the minds putting Agenda 360 into action decided that one of the top ways to increase business was to use the power behind new and existing groups of related businesses. 


"The Agenda calls for leveraging clusters. Well, what we've done is very clearly identify this consumer marketing cluster as a significant and unique opportunity for Cincinnati USA," Moormann says.


This consumer marketing cluster includes everything from product manufacturers to graphic designers to branding and marketing executives. So the top-notch branding and marketing professionals who have worked with the major names in the consumer product world also contribute to the city's industry cluster. 0110Fence_INSTORY.gif


"And by the way, they do their work at a Cincinnati price," Moormann says. "It's not paying what you would pay in London. It's not paying what you would pay in New York. It's paying what you would pay in Cincinnati, so you get top-notch services at a high value."


Becoming the "Silicon Valley" of Consumer Marketing


After defining Cincinnati as an international consumer marketing center, Governor Strickland reaffirmed this designation with the innovation hub title for Cincinnati USA. With this affirmation came a $250,000 grant toward further expansion and strength as a hub for consumer marketing.


The grant money will go toward planning and developing specific ideas geared toward strengthening the city's position on the map in this specific industry sector. Plans on the drawing board include leadership development programs and a business incubator specifically for consumer marketing businesses.


While this grant and hub designation help showcase Agenda 360's efforts, they are just a small part of the process. Expanding beyond just the geographic hub of downtown, uptown and Over the Rhine, Agenda 360's goal is to make the entire Greater Cincinnati a consumer marketing center.


"Our vision is for Cincinnati USA to be the 'Silicon Valley' for consumer marketing, and I think that's the image we want people to walk away with," Moormann says. "We want to be seen as the foremost authority, the foremost location in the nation for this industry."


Expanding the Recognition


While this "Silicon Valley" aspiration is still underway, Agenda 360 has momentum going in several other directions, making the consumer marketing center just one piece of the puzzle. With focuses on business growth, transportation, a qualified workforce, inclusion, a quality place and government collaboration, Agenda 360 offers a promising future for the city that goes far above and beyond the governor's innovation hub designation.


"Agenda 360 is an overarching regional action plan, so think of Agenda 360 as the umbrella that we feel will get Cincinnati to prosperity and further development by the year 2020," says Chris Kemper, public relations director of Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. To help ensure success, Agenda 360 has outlined three specific goals to reach by 2020:

  • 200,000 net new jobs
  • 150,000 new young professionals
  • Economic self-sufficiency for all, using the United Way's metrics as a barometer


So while Cincinnati can celebrate being dubbed an innovation hub, we have a lot more to look forward to. Agenda 360 has started a trend toward greatness, and their recent successes show that they are on the right path toward their 2020 goals.



Photographer: Brenna Sullivan
Model: Doug Moorman
Location: Cincinnati Regional Chamber

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

More articles by this author

Hairapist in TrainingHairapist in Training
Hairapist in Training As your hair is cut, sculpted and shaped,...
Picking Herself up, Aiming HighPicking Herself up, Aiming High
Picking Herself up, Aiming High After 20 years in business, this...