Here's what's in a name, South Louisiana business leaders may learn: new business and talent.
One Acadiana unveiled and launched a new regional brand, developed after a six-month effort, for their nine member parishes Tuesday.
DCI, a national marketing firm whose clients include Orlando; Chattanooga; Charleston, South Carolina; and Phoenix; touted the "South Louisiana, Real Cajun" campaign by confirming its selection to about 120 One Acadiana supporters. The goal, said One Acadiana Vice President of Governmental Affairs Anita Begnaud, is to "create a place" where business and industry site selectors and talented employees "want to be."
Frank Neuner, One Acadiana chairman, said the new brand "makes sense" by building upon previous area marketing efforts and by following the data.
A DCI survey of site selectors and talent recruiters showed too few people outside southwestern Louisiana recognized the name Acadiana as representing this geographic region. Almost two-thirds said the One Acadiana region — it includes Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion parishes — would be better served by the names Southwestern Louisiana or South Louisiana.
Acadiana as a regional name was coined by media outlets in Acadia and Lafayette parishes in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1971, the Louisiana Legislature identified 22 south Louisiana parishes as part of Acadiana.
About 88 percent of talent recruiters either liked or were neutral toward the name "Cajun Country," which is now part of the brand. About two-thirds of site selectors were neutral about or favored "Cajun Country." The word "Cajun" had instant recognition.
DCI said South Louisiana has a favorable national image for food, culture, and music, but the region needs to tout its other strengths, which include:
A "Red Hot," diverse business community that includes more than oil and gas, low cost with shovel-ready sites.
A productive and plentiful workforce of some 300,000, including 70,000 students.
Its geographic location between Houston and New Orleans.
A robust, "good life" reputation for affordable homes, good schools and arts and music.
One Acadiana's plan calls for revamping its website, encouraging supporters to use "South Louisiana" logos, using visual ads and enlisting supporters to promote the new brand.
Jim Bourgeois, interim president and CEO, said establishing a new brand has been a goal for about two years. Work with DCI began six months ago.
He said researchers found even when local people travel outside the region, they identify themselves as being from "South Louisiana," not Acadiana.
He said One Acadiana, formerly the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, would keep its name.