“It is just absolutely exploding right now.”

That’s what Hans Appen, a resident of Alpharetta, GA, has to say about the city he lives and works in.

Hans has a point. The City of Alpharetta has been singled out by Forbes as the #1 Place to Move in America, with particular praise directed toward economic growth and its proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the City of Atlanta.

The city has been enjoying this growth for years, but Alpharetta recently made a decidedly aggressive push to get the word out about the paradise that they’ve built. Particular focus is around branding the city as a cutting-edge innovation center.

For those in the know, Alpharetta is far more than a suburb of Atlanta, it is its own economic development powerhouse. But how best to communicate this message to continue to fuel the city’s technological and cultural growth?

The Challenge

city of alpharetta

The City of Alpharetta is on a mission to rebrand itself. Not to its own inhabitants, but to outsiders who weren’t as familiar with what the city has become.

Suburbs aren’t traditionally viewed as hip hubs for tech companies, cultural events, nightlife and more; those distinctions are generally relegated to their urban counterparts. In Alpharetta’s case, however, this distinction couldn’t be further from the truth.

With 600 technology companies and over 100 restaurants, breweries, shopping centers, music venues, events that are unique to the city – Alpharetta “ain’t no sleepy suburb,” as one tagline puts it.

But how was Alpharetta to establish itself as more than just a commuter suburb for Georgia’s capital city? What would be the best way to communicate the energy and feel of the city while simultaneously connecting professionals with the area, its people and its booming tech trade?

For a community that’s as inviting to the technology sector and creative culture as Alpharetta, the answer became immediately obvious: connect through video.

The Strategy

downtown alpharetta

Peter Tokar, Economic Development Director for the City of Alpharetta, decided upon video as the medium to represent Alpharetta’s growth initiative: Grow Alpharetta. But just one wouldn’t cut it.

According to Mark Hubbard, CEO of Alpharetta Technology Commission, there are 900 technology companies in the Alpharetta area, with 600 of them residing within the city’s borders. These tech brands include Microsoft, Verizon Wireless, Hi-Rez Studios, Jackson Healthcare, Priority Payment Systems, and more.

Each company has made its own unique contribution to the local technological ecosystem. As such, it made sense to produce a series of videos with each video highlighting a different brand or aspect of the community.

The strategy is mutually beneficial. Each business gets a chance to showcase its unique offering and contribution to the community. In return, the City of Alpharetta receives praise from the organizations and businesses that it has helped foster.

However, the landscape and appeal of Alpharetta is more than just the business community. Alpharetta wanted this initiative to showcase the quality of life elements and unique attributes that make the city one of the best places to be in the country.

As an economic development initiative, they also wanted the content to resonate with commercial real estate brokers and corporate site selectors to showcase the deal flow in Alpharetta and that there is active alive economic activity happening in the city.

awesome alpharetta

Grow Alpharetta’s strategy focused on 3 key types of videos.

  1. Unique Identifiers: Videos showcasing unique offerings only found in Alpharetta. Events, boutiques, restaurants, and venues that individuals could experience if they became a resident.
  2. CEO Testimonials: Videos communicating the trust that local business owners have in their community through one-on-one interviews. These are a great platform for cutting-edge businesses to promote their organizations and their success.
  3. Deal Flow Content: Videos showcasing corporate project wins for attraction and/or relocation. Grand openings for offices, restaurants, retail, and any positive growth in economic development.

To execute this strategy, Grow Alpharetta partnered with Crisp Video Group to develop and execute the video marketing campaign. Crisp had a unique offering: an ongoing, year-long organic video marketing strategy incorporating keyword research data, targeted reach and a steady rotation of high quality in-house produced video content to showcase the city, its brands, and its people.

In order to achieve Grow Alpharetta’s goals, Crisp Video Group produced video content to showcase Alpharetta not only as a cutting edge technology community, but as an ideal community to succeed economically and raise a family socially.

Crafting a narrative around Alpharetta’s multi-faceted culture, part of the video series would focus on different social aspects of the city (the “foodie” scene, nightlife, parks, etc.).

New video content would be released consistently for the duration of a year in order to create a steady buzz around the community. Beginning the process with an in-depth discovery call with representatives from Grow Alpharetta, the organization’s marketing goals were identified, solidified, and used to form the basis of the campaign’s messaging.

With slogans like “this ain’t your pap-pap’s city” and a hip, young vibe, it was immediately apparent that the city’s first target demographic (technology workers) is a younger, tech-oriented crowd.

Corresponding with the cultural strategy, the second approach to attract tech companies to the area began to take shape. In order to encourage these companies to move to the area, Crisp Video Group devised a plan to highlight the city’s business environment through Alpharetta’s current business owners and CEOs.

halyard health alpharetta

In order to create an authentic feel that appealed to directly to the second target audience (tech CEOs and business owners), this video marketing strategy centered on CEO profiles from Alpharetta’s current technology companies.

There’s no better way to tell a story than through the lens of those who currently live it, and the Alpharetta CEO profile series serves to showcase not only the companies that have headquartered in the area, but also the reasons for which they did and the success stories for companies who have relocated there.

The Implementation

Video content was implemented across a variety of channels and pages ranging including Grow Alpharetta, The City of Alpharetta, and Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau’s websites, social media pages, and YouTube channels.

Alpharetta 360 Websitealpharetta 360

Grow Alpharetta Website

alpharetta website

Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau Facebook

alpharetta convention and visitors bureau

Grow Alpharetta YouTube

city of alpharetta youtube

Schema markup (code placed on your website to help search engines return more informative results for users) was included within video embeds to help search engines properly index and rank videos from the campaign.

In order to drive action, calls to action were placed at the end of each video and in the YouTube descriptions for video uploads to direct viewers to Grow Alpharetta’s website.

Utilizing digital and social media as the primary medium for sharing video content is the differentiator for Alpharetta’s marketing initiative, making it both disruptive and innovative when compared to traditional economic development marketing initiatives. Giving the campaign the ability to reach to and target highly-specified demographics, social media has been a major driver of Grow Alpharetta success.

The Results

While organic video strategies based around on long-tail keywords and SEO metrics generally take time to produce results, the City of Alpharetta’s video marketing campaign has caught on like wildfire since its launch. Driving online engagement via the City of Alpharetta’s website as well as their social channels, here’s a snapshot of the organization’s metrics before and after the video campaign release:

Grow Alpharetta Website (2 Months Before vs. 2 Months After Launch)

alpharetta statistics

Grow Alpharetta YouTube Channel – Aggregate Viewership (1 Month Before vs. 1 Month After Launch)

alpharetta stats

3 Months Before vs. 3 Months After Launch

  • Watch Time: 648% increase
  • Views: 1,595% increase
  • Likes: 29,500% increase
  • Comments: 800% increase
  • Shares: 500% increase

After 6 months, the city of Alpharetta’s YouTube exposure grew nearly 10x from 189 to 1,390 video views per month while their Facebook presence has more than tripled, currently reaching 6,237 people per month through organic views and shares alone.

Alpharetta’s videos have also been extremely successful on social media (a key outlet for their tech-savvy target demographic), with the top results for their Facebook videos currently as follows:

  • Taste of Alpharetta 2016: 33,000 views
  • Alpharetta’s Parks and Trails: 14,000 views
  • Only in Alpharetta: 5,000 views

From a branding standpoint, the ripples are easily felt for the city’s image. A quick YouTube search for “City of Alpharetta” yields the following results (all campaign videos):

alpharetta youtube

Alpharetta 360, the digital media arm of the Grow Alpharetta campaign, has also seen site traffic increase by 136% in the same time 6 month frame.

With the goal of branding the city to engage and attract new workers and businesses, it’s safe to say that the strategy is beginning to work its course. With current video and web metrics pointing toward a staggering exposure increase, the city has already decided to follow their initial campaign with a renewed second year.

Discussing their campaign with Crisp Video Group, Peter Tokar III (Economic Development Director, Grow Alpharetta) had the following to say, “I’ve worked with a lot of media and production companies in the past. Crisp Video is by far the best video production studio I have ever worked with. From production to filming to providing the latest in optimization of our video content, Crisp Video provides the best customer experience I have ever had. They give us big studio productions with small studio personalization and attention.”

As the strategy continues, Alpharetta’s video strategy shows that high-quality video marketing strategy can not only serve to brand a company or organization, but cities as well.

And, as Grow Alpharetta continues their high-quality video marketing campaign, they will continue to drive engagement and spread word of the “technology capital of the south” to their target demographics.

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