Did you know that West Virginia Polymer Alliance Zone is the World's Largest Concentration of engineering polymer plants? How about the fact that the player profile used in the NBA’s official logo is West Virginia native Jerry West?
In 2005, Steptoe & Johnson took on the challenge of spreading the news about West Virginia’s firsts to friends and colleagues. The firm developed West Virginia First, a pocketsize booklet highlighting unique facts about the Mountain State.
The objective was to position the firm – which has 180 attorneys in offices throughout the state – as an ambassador for West Virginia, showcasing the ways West Virginia and its citizens excel.
The project’s target audience was primarily business leaders, along with students across the state, neighbors in local communities and current and prospective clients – located within the state and across its borders. Used as a memorable giveaway in local and far-flung locales, it became a tool to spur discussion and leave a memorable impression.
Through research, Steptoe & Johnson identified a wealth of compelling facts about West Virginia and incorporated figures that most conveyed business-friendly attributes.
Opting not to blatantly brand the publication, the firm only mentioned itself on the first page, in the introduction stating the booklet’s objective, and printed its logo on the last page encouraging readers to contact the firm to nominate additional West Virginia First Facts.
Ten thousand of the second edition booklets were initially printed. The firm distributed 4,000 of the booklets to 700 of the state’s business leaders at an annual business summit, challenging them to spread West Virginia’s positive attributes by passing the booklets along.
Betsy Spellman, Director of Client Services, told attendees, “Imagine the ripple affect if each person here today simply tells one other person about these West Virginia firsts.”
Two thousand were provided to teachers across the state, hundreds to students at the West Virginia Social Studies Fair and thousands more to clients and friends. The West Virginia Development office took 500 of the booklets to Japan on its annual economic development trio to share with the nation’s business leaders.
The project’s budget was $11,000. Based on the booklet’s distribution and web page hits, the firm estimated the West Virginia First project reached an audience of approximately 25,000 individuals. Steptoe and Johnson estimated that 50 percent of the recipients shared the booklet with friends and co-workers, generating additional brand impressions.