Tag Archives: Think Vermont

Vermont Life Magazine & Governor Scott’s disaster marketing

WCAX reports the Scott administration will keep Vermont Life Magazine rather than continue recent efforts to sell the state-published regional lifestyle magazine. According to Vtdigger.com the state turned down nine bids from outside businesses for the magazine. Vermont Life, in publication since the late 1940’s, is now in debt and struggling with declining circulation numbers, as many periodicals are.

I have fond memories of Vermont Life from over fifty years ago the outhouse attached to woodshed at the back of the barn at my grandfather’s farmhouse was wallpapered with pictures he cut from the magazine. So in one sense, I am pleased with the news. But I wonder about the Scott administration’s overall marketing scheme.

The magazine will now be put to use as one part of the administration’s plan to market Vermont to out-of-state businesses and people. Speaking to WCAX, Governor Scott’s Commerce Secretary (and former Burlington top cop) Michael Schirling explained that Vermont Life now has a “bright future” as part of the plan to market the state around the country.  Another element of the plan – the administration wants people displaced by hurricanes last summer to move to Vermont. “There are folks from all over that – whether it’s in one of those areas affected or elsewhere – that are looking for opportunities,” mailboxVTlife1

When Vermonters were digging out from hurricane Irene-our own climate disaster that devastated large parts of the state, do you suppose many Vermonters would have packed up for the Lone Star state if a free  issue of Texas Highways popped up in the mailbox?

Perhaps inadvertently Scott may have previewed his out-of-state disaster marketing plan a couple weeks back. In remarks to reporters Scott spoke about his hope that climate change could prove an “economic boon” for Vermont. Said the Governor: “When we look across the U.S. and see that climate patterns have changed dramatically — we’re seeing wildfires in California — it makes Vermont look pretty good.”  He expressed his belief that the in Northeast “we’re in a pretty good position” and compared to other states “we could be the Mecca,”

And the notoriously penny-pinching Scott administration has asked for $3 million to be budgeted for the overall effort. But do state-run “move here” ad blitzes such as  Think ! Vermont even work? Could Gov. Scott or  Sec. Schirling or any of the Mad Men (or women) at Vermont’s  Agency of Commerce and Community Development cite any studies that show what kind of results to expect ? Commenting on an efforts by northern cities to entice millennials to move there, Joe Cortright, an economist and director of City Observatory (a think tank funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation) noted: There’s little research tracking such marketing efforts, and it’s difficult to gauge the subtle influences of media on personal decisions like where to move. And it is a crowded field: mid-west states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and back to Maine and New Hampshire are all working on variations of “move here” campaigns.

One sidebar to Gov. Scott’s marketing Vermont as “Mecca”: we’re not immune to climate damage. Remember hurricane (post-tropical storm, officially) Irene?  For the last three years all the lower 48 states and Alaska had above-average annual temperatures. And sure, it is cold now according to NOAA: Despite cold seasons in various regions throughout the year, above-average temperatures, often record-breaking, during other parts of the year more than offset any seasonal cool conditions.

Couldn’t $3 million of our tax dollars be spent more wisely on the people that already live here and not on this “move here” advertising scheme? So we ask again, Governor Scott: affordable for whom, the regular folks who live here, or the digital-native millennials with high-end incomes you hope to entice here?


Did they “Think!Vermont” ?

Think!Vermont  is the slogan of a new marketing campaign scheme and website designed to be catchy enough to lure businesses and employees to the Green Mountain State. Governor Scott and his team rolled it out this week in  Burlington. The VT. Agency of Commerce and Community Development says the new website is part of an effort to support existing Vermont businesses.It will also act as a hub for inspiring stories, encouraging statistics and lots of links to useful information for businesses.  img_3489

“We only use red tape for ribbon cuttings,” declares the Think!Vermont  website based campaign which reportedly draws a quaint picture of the state according to SevenDays’ story

“Our Vermont brand is powerful,” Scott said at a press conference at the Vermont Tech Jam at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. “Think!Vermont will tell unique and positive stories about Vermonters and Vermont businesses.”

[…] Scott, who often says that Vermont loses an average of six workers every day from its workforce, said he hopes Think!Vermont will lower that number.

Well, sure Phil maybe. Earlier, on a much smaller budget, then-Lt. Governor Scott created a tie-dye sticker that read: “Buy local! It’s not just for hippies anymore!” But right off the mark Scott’s latest effort looks like businesses in Utah and Virginia will be benefiting from the Gov’s efforts.yathinkvt

The host Network Solutions LLC is located in Hendron, Virginia (where they employ 2,000 people). And the thinkvermont.com IP address according to whois.com is actually based in Provo Utah.

Imagine some out-of-state tech biz doing the minimal checking I did, and what conclusion they’re likely to draw: “um, it’s catchy, and it’s a pretty state, but obviously they don’t have the in-state talent we would need to move there or even do significant business there …”

I suppose it is quaint to think you should source everything from within the state, but I’ve got to wonder how much Phil Scott and his team Thought!Vermont  when contracting it out. They say they Think!Vermont, but Scott’s team’s first step was sending our tax dollars out of state for the latest Vermont branding campaign.