Virginia Beach Economic Development makes ‘international winner’s circle’ with four awards for marketing efforts

Launch Virginia Beach, the city's 2014 annual report, which was published as an e-book, won an international award for the Economic Development Department. (Courtesy of yesvirginiabeach.com)
Launch Virginia Beach, the city’s 2014 annual report, which was published as an e-book, won an international award for the Economic Development Department. (Courtesy of yesvirginiabeach.com)

The Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development won more international awards this year than any other city its size except the one that it tied.

The department announced this week that it had won four awards — one gold and three silver — in a category for cities between 200,000 and 500,000 residents at the International Economic Development Council’s recent annual conference.

The four awards are one more than the city won last year, according to a release.

That “put the department in the international winner’s circle,” Economic Development Director Warren Harris said in the release. “We are very pleased that our marketing efforts are producing results for the city in terms of interest from national and international businesses, and they also stand out in a very competitive and global arena.”

Among the efforts that helped earn the recognition was Virginia Beach’s use of native web ads, which are made to look like an article on other websites and placed to make it look like part of the site. Scott Hall, business development coordinator for the economic development department, said by email that those ads targeted “C-level executives of businesses looking to expand and/or move their companies, and served on news/business pages containing related content.”

Sites targeted by the ad campaign included: entrepreneur.comthestreet.combizjournals.comibtimes.comnewsweek.com and sfgate.com.

The International Economic Development Council, which has more than 4,400 members, says its awards recognize the world’s leading economic development programs and marketing efforts.

The Beach won its highest award for its  2014 annual report — Launch Virginia Beach — which was published as an e-book, the release said.

The silver awards were granted for:

  • The city’s free “Yes Virginia Beach” iPad app, which allows users to search commercial properties and tap GIS imagery to virtually explore the city through several data lenses. They include business districts, infrastructure, transportation, higher education, workforce, quality of life, demographics and major employers, according to the release. The app has been downloaded 667 times, according to Hall.
  • The “Launch Virginia Beach” print and digital advertisement campaign. It “included Fortune Magazine cover wraps, custom channel web banners, contextual targeted web banners, custom audience web banners, and native website ads. The creative for this campaign focused on the department’s key messages: biotech, corporate headquarters, skilled workforce, exiting military, international appeal, and a high quality of life,” according to the awards program.
  • The 2015-16 community profile, which serves as reference for the departments market materials for the year and contains key information on demographics. It’s also available as an e-book on the Apple iBook store.

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