Here’s another case study in the making: a business group attempting to use social media for promotion and marketing.
At the height of the dot com boom, the Ottawa technology sector styled itself as Silicon Valley North. In fact, the technology sector was powered by industry leaders like Nortel, JDS Uniphase, Entrust and Cognos and the startups that grew up around them.
All that changed in a short period of time. The Ottawa industry was hit hard by the drop in demand for telecom and Internet gear. Tech companies fell on hard times, laying off employees, pulling out of the region or simply closing their doors.
Well, the region’s technology sector has slowly clawed its way back up from the depths. And now the tech sector’s business association, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) wants to spread the good news about the region’s resurgence.
OCRI has launched 82000 Reasons.com to proclaim to the world that the region’s tech sector has survived the telecom implosion, has reestablished itself on solid footing and is growing again. The site’s name alludes to the fact that there are now more than 82,000 people employed in Ottawa’s tech sector.
I found out about the site through a news release that arrived in my feedreader via an RSS feed from MarketWire. (Yes, news releases continue to be an effective way to reach people with an interest in your subject area.)
OCRI’s release says that 82000reasons:
“gives tech employees and companies an RSS, blog and viral video platform to share their successes with a global audience.”
“In the era of user generated content, every one of Ottawa’s technology success stories can be told, tagged and distributed online to a global audience,” says [Michael Darch, Executive Director of Ottawa Global Marketing]. “82000reasons.com leverages our greatest asset, our people, to tell the ‘Why Ottawa?’ story. They are better qualified than anyone to describe Ottawa’s lifestyle and technology strengths so we can attract the people and investment dollars we need to fuel our growth.”
OCRI is promoting participation through a contest offering Ottawa-Frankfurt air tickets to the best contributions and through by “banner ads on Facebook, plus local print, banner ad and radio advertising.”
Conspicuously absent in the list of promotional initiatives is any type of blogger outreach. That’s a real missed opportunity for an initiative that presents itself in social media terms.
The site has just launched. So, it’s too early to judge participation. I’ll follow its progress and try to arrange an interview with Mike Dartch in about a month to talk about the site’s objectives and how it is performing.
UPDATE: Media in Canada also has covered the launch of 82000Reasons