To the outside business world, Connecticut's image has long been of a wealthy, tennis-playing bedroom community where, as Luke Scott put it, "creativity goes to sleep."
The reality is quite different, as Scott, creative and digital director for Madison/Mott in Westport, and Adam Smith, president of Advent Creative, emphasized Wednesday in their presentation to the Fairfield County Public Relations Association at the Shore & Country Club in Norwalk.
The annual meeting of solo marketing agencies, corporate communications and creative directors centered around the development of the "Creative Corridor," a program that has been under discussion for about a year.
"The FCPRA kind of bore this idea of the corridor, realizing it would be a way to bring jobs to the area and sort of make a name for ourselves," said Melissa LoParco, outgoing vice president of the FCPRA and vice president/public relations director of Catalyst Marketing Communications Inc., in Stamford. "We want companies out there who are spending creative money to know that you don't need to go to New York to get a cutting-edge agency."
Smith and Scott approach the "Creative Corridor" as a client, assembling a vision, mission and strategy to increase area business, create jobs and support local talent. The goal is to settle on a campaign identity by mid-July and create a communications and business plan by August.
"Part of our proposal is to establish a center, a town hall -- digital as well as potentially physical at some point -- where we can all get on the same page. It's essentially a re-branding of the region," said Smith, who is searching for a place in the county to locate his business.
That "digital town hall" would be a website where profiles of creative agencies would be displayed, where clients could be matched with local companies and where FCPRA members can find other agencies to partner with.
"It will speak about our brand and our initiative," said Scott, who lives in Bridgeport. "It's got to make clients want to work with Connecticut agencies and make talent want to work in Connecticut."
To further knit the Fairfield County business community together, Chris Bruhl, president of the Business Council of Fairfield County, said the FCPRA and council have entered into an agreement where voting members of the FCPRA will be treated as members of the council as well, though both membership entities will remain separate.
"These (creative) agencies ought to be able to grow here in the same way other fields and professions are thriving here," he said.