The Situation

In 2010, newly-elected New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie created Choose New Jersey (Choose NJ), a nonprofit with the mission of aggressively promoting the state as an excellent place to invest and do business.

The Challenge

The new economic development marketing organization was charged with putting “New Jersey's economy back on track by spurring investment, attracting and expanding businesses and creating meaningful jobs for our state's families," according to Gov. Christie. This meant creating a an entirely new integrated marketing program to strategically position the state for business attraction, expansion, retention and investment

Superstorm Sandy Creates A New Challenge

In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast, threatening business success and investment in the state. It was critical to let the world know, NJ may be down, but they weren’t out.

Marketing Communications Strategy + Implementation

Our team immediately pivoted, creating an aggressive image campaign centered around a new theme—“New Jersey. A State of Resilience.” Mobilizing partners and the business community, we implemented an award-winning $2.5+ million ad campaign for an investment of less than $100 thousand.

If you were in major metros around the country, you might have seen the campaign wrapping city buses, on taxi rooftops, in airports and transit stations, or on billboards.


The campaign inspired pride from NJ’s residents, encouraged those outside the state to travel to and patronize NJ-based businesses, and showed business decision-makers that NJ was still an ideal location.

Marketing Communications Strategy + Implementation

Melissa Hensley was hired to serve as the organization’s Chief Marketing Officer, leading the creation and implementation of NJ’s international economic development brand.

We started by conducting market research both inside and outside the state to gain insight into relevant business location decision-makers, their motivations to invest in NJ (or not), and better understand the overall “buyer’s journey.” This original research shaped how we would take the state “to market.”

We then worked with a NJ-based creative team to develop the state’s economic development brand and implement it across paid, earned, social and owned media. The new tagline—Highly educated. Perfectly located.—perfectly captured the state’s unique value proposition.

The campaign actively promoted the state's core strengths—strategic access to local and global financial markets, a highly trained workforce and a comprehensive distribution network of world-class sea and airports, state-of-the-art energy and communications infrastructure and elite research universities—to businesses in and outside NJ.  


The international marketing program was integral to the state’s overall economic development effort, which secured 65,626 new/retained jobs and $9.9 billion in public/private investment in the first few years of operation. This set the newly-formed economic development organization on a path to success and strategically positioned the state for a more prosperous future.


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