In 2013, North Dakota had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation and more than 20,000 unfilled jobs across the state. It was critical to the state’s economic future to ensure workers of all industries were made aware of the abundant opportunities to live, work and raise a family in North Dakota.
Odney began working with the North Dakota Department of Commerce on its Find the Good Life initiative to recruit workforce to the state. Our role was to build awareness among job seekers that North Dakota has employment opportunities, influencing them to move to North Dakota, as well as to educate our target audience of all the great things to do, work-life balance and how they can “find the good life” in North Dakota.
“Find the Good Life” was developed as the brand for this project to highlight and reinforce North Dakota’s reputation as a quality place to live, work and raise a family. During the initiative’s early phase, the nation was still in the midst of a recession, allowing North Dakota to contrast its economic boom with leaner times being experienced elsewhere.
As the initiative has continued and economic opportunities have evolved, Find the Good Life’s strategy has also evolved to remain relevant and impactful. This has included refining target audiences and adjusting channels or emphasis on channels.
Odney worked with the Department of Commerce to develop the Find the Good Life website as a centralized hub to showcase available careers, highlights of living in North Dakota, testimonies from those who have relocated to the state, and education or training available.
We also pursued research to better understand the pre- and post-impressions North Dakota new residents had, what enticed them to come and what kept them rooted in the state. This crucial insight helped shape messages that were deployed both out-state and in-state to maximize the initiative’s effectiveness.
Organic social media specific to the initiative was rolled into existing Department of Commerce efforts already focused on workforce recruitment and retention. This already built-in audience provided Find the Good Life efforts an immediate, larger, interested audience.
During the initiative's early phases, North Dakota was at the height of its Bakken oil industry boom, so while careers existed in myriad fields across the state, certain emphasis was placed on targeting potential residents interested in energy careers or their related services, and healthcare careers. This involved attending job fairs targeted in markets with similar industries, as well as to military personnel looking to transfer into civilian life.
It was also recognized that many of those pursuing careers in North Dakota did so because of an existing relationship in state. Therefore, resources were deployed to current residents encouraging them to be word-of-mouth ambassadors with others in their circle.
As the campaign has progressed, paid digital (digital banner ads, email marketing and Native advertising) and social media advertising have become the main source of focus with campaigns generally targeting job seekers in Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington and Texas. However, additional creative tactics in certain markets have also been deployed, such as wrapping a Light Rail train in Minneapolis with the campaign brand and message.