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Rebranding the Corridor

Feb. 3, 2012 – The region formerly known as Iowa’s Technology Corridor has been renamed Iowa’s Creative Corridor (ICC) to better represent the area’s unique convergence of art, science and technology. The new name and logo were unveiled Friday morning at an event held at Kirkwood Community College.

Considered one of the nation’s leading economic development regions, ICC emphasizes creative innovation and support that allows individuals, businesses and organizations to transform their future, their company, their industry or even the world.

Iowa’s Creative Corridor stretches from Iowa City to Cedar Rapids along I-380 and is home to more than two dozen municipalities, multiple higher education facilities, the world-famous Iowa Writer’s Workshop, dozens of arts organizations, nearly 30 Fortune 500 companies and more than a dozen international organizations.

The counties of Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington comprise ICC’s regional economy. Located in east central Iowa, the Creative Corridor encompasses about 4,400 square miles and is home to more than 445,000 residents.

The two-year rebranding effort was spearheaded by the Corridor Business Alliance (CBA). The CBA is an affiliation of 13 area economic development organizations committed to a regional approach to economic development with a vision to create a vital regional economy through the creation and growth of business. The CBA plans to implement numerous strategies that focus on the Iowa’s Creative Corridor’s spirit of creative innovation, ranging from partnerships to marketing communications to entrepreneurial support/incentives.

North Star Destination Strategies, a branding firm based in Nashville, TN, was contracted by the CBA, to assist with the regional branding process. Research conducted by North Star showed most people are unfamiliar with the breadth of the region’s accomplishments and what it has to offer.

John Lohman, publisher of the Corridor Business Journal and chairman of the regional branding effort, said based off that information, the initial emphasis will be placed on uniting and leveraging all the accomplishments already taking place throughout the ICC.

Examples range from artistic endeavors like the Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop, which has resulted in 28 Pulitzer Prizes to Rockwell Collins, which supplies the nation with aviation and information technology systems for defense and commercial avionics markets. Collaboration in the ICC is represented by partnerships like the one between Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids and the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where an innovative sustainability initiative uses 40,000 tons of oat hulls (which would otherwise be waste) to generate a significant amount of the campus’ energy.

Lohman said the ICC’s dual disciplines of art and science, and the constant interweaving of the two, creates waves of influence that are as powerful and complex as anywhere on earth. “Contrary to what some may say, great minds don’t think alike,” he said. “That is why the ICC offers such contrast in its creativity, from some of the nation’s greatest science to its greatest science fiction, from cutting-edge biology to edgy biographies and from works of art to work on the heart.

“In fact, looking again at the Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop and the work of Rockwell Collins, it can be said the Corridor is responsible for creating the stories that inform and entertain us, the systems that allow us to enjoy that entertainment at 35,000 feet and even the popcorn you munch throughout it all,” Lohman said.

Iowa’s Creative Corridor has been inspiring Iowans and bringing innovation to the world for generations. In 2011 alone this wellspring of intellectual, scientific, artistic and creative pursuits has been named one of the Best Places for Business and Careers (Forbes), one of the Best Places to Live and Launch (Money Magazine), one of the Best Places for Affordable Homes (CNN Money Magazine) and one of the Best Performing Cities (Milken Institute).

Members of the CBA include Alliant Energy, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, Entrepreneurial Development Center, Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce, Iowa City Area Development Group, Kirkwood Community College, MidAmerican Energy, Kirkwood’s Small Business Development Center, The John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa, University of Iowa Research Foundation, University of Iowa Small Business Development Center and East Central Iowa Council of Governments.
To learn more about the regional branding effort go to www.corridor2020.com


John Lohman: Publisher, Corridor Business Journal; Chairman of rebranding effort, (319) 936-6555
Dee Baird: President and CEO, Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, (319) 730-1420