In hopes of drawing in working professionals to Greater Sudbury, the city has launched the Hit Refresh in Greater Sudbury attraction initiative.
Rather than a limited campaign, economic development director Brett Williamson clarified this is intended to be a multi-year initiative that will evolve.
The program’s initial focus will be on the Greater Toronto Area, where Williamson expects imagery depicting Greater Sudbury’s slower pace of life and its connection to the great outdoors will resonate with people.
“Our average commute time is 20 minutes, which I think is probably on the high side, and that’s quite a different story in a metropolitan area like Toronto,” he said.
“We do know one of the realities of the COVID pandemic is that people now understand that they have options that were probably not aware to them in terms of working from home. … Sudbury is a very attractive alternative from a lifestyle standpoint, so we certainly want to leverage that opportunity.”
The initial round of imagery includes the juxtaposition of a person stuck in gridlock traffic with an image of someone behind the wheel of a boat. There’s also an image of kids in a pool on a balcony paired with an image of a large pool in someone’s backyard.
The city is currently in the process of getting advertisements installed on billboards targeting high-end condo units in Toronto, as well as ads placed in elevators to hit up captive audiences.
This advertising, also being done online, will push people to visit hitrefreshsudbury.ca, where information about Greater Sudbury is available alongside personal testimonials from people who have found success in the city.
The initiative was developed by staff in various city departments, which factored in the information provided by the more than 800 businesses they’ve reached out to since the pandemic started.
“Like in communities across Canada, Greater Sudbury is grappling with skilled labour shortages, an aging population and a declining birth rate,” Williamson said, adding that they’ve heard concerns about labour shortages in various fields.
“It’s kind of a wide scope of jobs and employment that we’re going after.”
Thankfully, he said, there are plenty of aspects to Greater Sudbury that make it an appealing option for professionals to plant their roots.
As for the initiative’s initial focus, he pointed to commute times, affordability and access to the outdoors as giving Sudbury an advantage over Toronto.
With the Greater Toronto Area-centred first leg of the initiative already underway, Williamson said the city is already in the process of planning future efforts, such as retaining students currently studying in Greater Sudbury and partnering with employers and the Sudbury Real Estate Board to help draft other actions.
Although some might assume students studying in Greater Sudbury already know what the city has to offer, Williamson said that’s a risky assumption.
Hit Refresh in Greater Sudbury is a unique marketing strategy, Williamson said, and will remain a fluid approach to attracting people to the city that will adapt and change as results come in.
“I think people have had to change the way in which they work and I think there are increased opportunities for people to consider different options for places to call home.”
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.