It’s 17 municipalities connecting under one regional brand. It’s 1.7 million residents creating regional pride and a sense of place to compete with markets across the nation. It’s inclusive and rooted in what is undeniable about us, our tremendous assets, our diversity, our history, our military, our Port, our culture.
Shifting trends can be challenging for some. However, we really have no choice. Right now, we are in a war for talent. The baby boomers are retiring, and there are not enough young professionals to fill the jobs, let alone fill new jobs created by companies growing due to our pro-business environment and thriving economy and from companies moving here. We know site selectors base their decision, to a large extent, on a skilled and ready workforce. We can’t wait! An old proverb states, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now!” The time is now for us to come together as a community and market the region to attract the best and the brightest.
The Hampton Roads Chamber means business. We work hard to set the conditions for businesses to succeed. The lack of a credible regional brand, which creates energy, promotes an exciting sense of place and generates the associated regional pride, is an inhibitor to business success and economic development. In short, it’s a weakness! And when competent leaders do a SWOT analysis, they must address the weaknesses, or they will continue and most likely get worse. In short, for us to become more competitive, we need address our brand weakness and try something new and fresh.
That’s why we put ourselves through a well-established and proven process to analyze our region from a marketing and branding perspective. This data driven process took over nine months and included over 2000 meeting hours and input from thousands of voices. These voices are young, old, white, black, Asian, gay, straight, southside, peninsula, born here, and from away. These voices are The 757. They spoke and we listened.
We have much to celebrate in this region: our water, 3000 miles of coastline, our history, our diversity, our military, our global port, and our future. Innovative growth opportunities like the transatlantic cables, regional fiber network ring, Jefferson Laboratories, and NASA connect us as a region.
We have the good fortune of living where millions of people come to visit. We need to share our amazing coastal lifestyle, our world-class performing arts, and premier festivals with guests so they will become residents. The attraction will be so great they cannot leave.
The 757 brand is also for business recruitment. This is where companies easily connect to one another, the world, and the talent they need. Site selectors and decision makers need to know we have local partners, a global seaport, a global digital port, an exceptional quality of life, qualified talent for today and tomorrow. Companies will be connected to the stewards of tomorrow, an innovative community that is investing in the new economic opportunities and a 21st century infrastructure.
This world is becoming increasingly divided. Let's pull together and ignite this region. When someone asks you where you live, proudly say I live in a place where everyone connects, where the coastal environment is breathtaking, where the pro-business environment is second to none and where the heart of our military beats strong.
This brand speaks to the core of who we are and what we strive for daily.
We are proudly and Unapologetically The 757.
Bryan K. Stephens
President & CEO
Hampton Roads Chamber