Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance Launches Talent Attraction, Retention Initiative

The Challenge

How do you retain and attract top local talent in a county where there has historically been a professional exodus to other cities among qualified and sought after workers?

The Approach

Develop a full brand system and custom website for a multi-layered talent and attraction initiative that would help shine a light on internship and career opportunities in Baldwin County.

Adventure Calls. Opportunity Awaits.

The Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance came to us with good news: their county was the 7th fastest growing metro area in the U.S. Nestled along the white sands of Alabama’s Gulf Coast, it might not be the first place you think of when you’re searching for economic opportunity.

And that was the not-so-good news. Even among Baldwin County locals, college graduates were interviewing in other cities after receiving their in-state degrees. Year over year, Baldwin County watched highly skilled homegrown talent leave their shores for major metro areas in the Southeast US. It raised the question: How do we get them to stay?

We developed the “Belong in Baldwin” brand with the intent of launching a full-scale website that would give locals and professionals around the nation every reason they can think of to consider Baldwin County for their professional future.

We circled up with the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance team to get the facts on paper. What were the current challenges? If there are so many great opportunities here, why are people still leaving for other cities? Do people just not know about those opportunities? Can we help educate the public? 

We started by interviewing their leadership team to understand what makes the Baldwin County residents tick and what are the themes that they continue to hear among locals when talking about their local economy and job market. We also wanted to focus on bringing out-of-state talent to Baldwin County. On top of retaining the talent we have in our backyard, how can we become an aspirational destination for job seeking professionals? We also made sure to take a look at what other economic development initiatives were doing around the nation to see what was working and what wasn’t. Untangling the details in these discovery meetings is crucial to getting to the key areas that we can use to build the foundation of a rock-solid branded initiative.

We like to approach any new brand with what it is that makes this product or company special. In this case, what are the things that make Baldwin County unique in a way that is different from the other counties around the US. This included coming up with a mission and vision, key differentiators, identifying a brand voice, a captivating tagline, and more. We wanted the team in Baldwin County to be able to use these internal messaging points as a North Star moving forward to ensure all future actions are well aligned and working toward an established goal. 

Tagline: Adventure Calls. Opportunity Awaits. 

Mission: To share Baldwin County’s story, making it a clear choice for professionals looking to grow a career, build a life, and make a home, and to connect them to resources to do so.

Vision: To foster a county-wide culture across companies and organizations that champions healthy work-life balance, offers competitive opportunities, and seeks to continuously evolve and improve to collectively attract and retain best-in-class talent.

Resources: In both the local government and private sectors, Baldwin County is a place that invests heavily in its resources for professionals and entrepreneurs. 

Potential: Baldwin County is the 7th fastest growing metro area in the US. We know that it’s perfectly positioned to be the next big thing. Now is the time to get in. 

Opportunity: The county itself is professionally diverse. Between coastal hospitality and a thriving industrial sector in the north, there are opportunities in both trades and traditional college degree career pathways. 

Community: You can get all of the opportunities of a big city with the charm and vibe of a small town. This is perfect for starting a life with a family. 

Location: 15 national parks and some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world make Baldwin County paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Shutting the laptop on a Friday afternoon means beachside sunsets, not hours in traffic.

Through our discovery sessions, we determined that the external messaging would never be a one-size-fits-all solution. Realistically, it never is. We identified several audiences we wanted to reach with our campaigns, all whom we agreed were motivated by different factors. This siloed brand messaging approach allowed us to drill down deep and empower the BCEDA team with a quiver full of options. 

Global Messaging: Although we knew we would be speaking to a diverse network of audiences, we always start with some solid overarching messaging that can work for everyone. The goal here was to make sure that a national-level campaign could be specific enough in all of the right places, no matter who is reading it. Here are some of the key headlines we crafted. 

  • Where opportunity grows. 
  • Make your mark. Belong in Baldwin. 
  • Opportunity starts here. 
  • There’s no better time to Belong in Baldwin. 
  • Where work and life are always in balance.

Interns/Seeking Internships: Gone are the days of the coffee-grabbing intern coming into the office to do menial tasks for a few hours. Today’s interns are looking for real, applicable skills and experiences that they can parlay into a rewarding career. Oftentimes, those interns can be hired on as full-time employees at the same companies they interned at in their hometowns. We wanted our headlines to highlight that possibility for Baldwin County. 

  • Why wait to have a big impact? Opportunity starts at home. 
  • Bright futures begin in Baldwin. 
  • Be more in Baldwin. 
  • Your future starts at your front steps. 
  • You’re just getting started. We’re here for what’s next. Belong in Baldwin. 

Companies Seeking Interns: A concern we discovered early on in our working sessions with the team was that it was unclear whether or not the local business owners in Baldwin County were getting the most out of the internship programs. That’s why we wanted to use Belong in Baldwin as a chance to educate them on the power of a robust internship program, convincing them that the interns today are making big impacts at companies. We wrote headlines that pitched this belief to local businesses in Baldwin. 

  • Supporting and empowering Baldwin County’s brightest young minds, together. 
  • Discover and develop your organization’s future leaders with work-based learning.
  • Let’s grow talent together today to uplift our collective tomorrow. 
  • Your resource to develop tomorrow’s top talent, today. 
  • Creating spaces where rising young talent can learn, grow, and thrive. 

Recent Graduates/Young Professionals: Whether in-state or out-of-state graduates, we know that young professionals will play a key role in the development of Baldwin’s rapidly growing economy. Because of that, we needed some targeted headlines toward the younger audience who are looking to kick off a career and plant the flag in a town. They are eager and full of energy and being inundated with options. How do we entice them? We made these headlines aspirational with young, motivated dreamers in mind. 

  • Grow more. Go Baldwin. 
  • Shine brightly in Baldwin. 
  • Where unmatched opportunity meets untethered talent. 
  • Find your place. Make your mark. 
  • Craft your own chapter in our county’s story. 

Out-of-town Recruits/Potential Residents: Retention is a huge part of the Belong in Baldwin initiative. The other arm of this is attraction. How do we get established, seasoned professionals to leave where they are and bring their families to Baldwin County? It’s a tougher code to crack, so we knew we needed to adjust the messaging to highlight the great lifestyle benefits that Baldwin County can offer.

  • The home to your next great adventure. 
  • Unplug or plug in. Work and life are always in balance in Baldwin. 
  • Trade a long commute for a close community. 
  • Trade concrete for coastline. 
  • Adventure calls. Opportunity awaits. Discover Baldwin County.

Existing Business: The truth is, Baldwin County is already home to so many amazing businesses and owners. A huge part of the Belong in Baldwin initiative was to act as a resource hub for the existing businesses that are already doing great things in the area. Additionally, with a renewed and energized focus on entrepreneurship, we want to tap into those go-getters to encourage them to continue to invest in Baldwin County and push toward a collective good. The result was headlines for both. 

  • Build the next big thing in Baldwin. 
  • Build in Baldwin. 
  • Building together into tomorrow. 
  • Connect with top talent today that will lead your business tomorrow. 
  • Your source of truth for countywide hiring, benefits, and wage standards. 

Skeptics/Resistant Locals: Another more sensitive area we unearthed during our initial discovery sessions was the realization that not all Baldwin County locals may be excited about the growth. Baldwin locals have long enjoyed a relaxed, Southern charm vibe in a town that doesn’t mind taking things a little slower. We could empathize with a certain amount of skepticism. Afterall, change can be a scary thing. With that in mind, we crafted headlines with the intention of winning the hearts and minds of locals who were less enthusiastic about Baldwin’s expansion. 

  • Our story is just getting started. 
  • Respecting our roots. Welcoming what’s next. 
  • Join us in building an even brighter Baldwin. 
  • Sweet Home Baldwin County.
  • We all Belong in Baldwin.  

Visitors: As a popular tourist destination, Baldwin County has the unique advantage of hosting people from all over the United States during their vacations. Our theory was that, if they enjoy coming here for leisure, why not encourage them to stay? We put together headlines that could be targeted toward vacationers to let them know all about the opportunities popping up around Baldwin County. 

  • Live where you vacation. 
  • Why not now? You Belong in Baldwin. 
  • Let’s turn your ‘one day’ into ‘today.’
  • Opportunity is alive and the future is bright in Baldwin. 
  • Turn vacation into staycation. 

For the visuals, we wanted it to be bright and attention grabbing while maintaining a professional, cutting-edge look that could position the area as an aspirational destination for professionals. The challenge was to keep it looking fun without coming off as too young.

But this website couldn’t be all flash and no substance. The team wanted a website that was client-focused and built to expand into an organic search machine with a robust blog. We also made sure that both new and existing clients had a surplus of options for finding their perfect stylist match through stylist bios, fun stylist facts, and several calls to action for booking with transparent, honest pricing.

Baldwin County features a diverse ecosystem rich with a wide array of natural colors. We wanted to capture the coastal colors that are to be expected in the area, but we also wanted to explore the deeper greens found throughout the lush parks and farmlands to highlight that Baldwin County is so much more than just the beach. Supported by beautiful yellows and reds that light up the skies over Baldwin, this color palette was a top-to-bottom homage to the area.

Tiled, patterned elements are a fantastic way to bring depth and visual excitement to any piece of creative. With such a vastness to Baldwin County’s diversity of opportunities and natural landscape, we knew that nothing short of a fully custom illustrated pattern would suffice. The result was a truly one-of-a-kind pattern that tells the story of Baldwin County without saying a word. The pattern was designed intentionally to be easily broken out into sections, meaning our client could use whichever section fit their vision for an upcoming campaign or piece of collateral.

The website design needed to be dynamic and interactive while being super easy to navigate and digest. At the end of the day, we wanted this site to be able to stand toe-to-toe with other economic development initiatives around the country and highlight only the very best Baldwin County has to offer. The result was a content-rich website with something for everyone, featuring stunning video, upcoming music and arts events for locals and soon-to-be locals, a deep dive on schools and healthcare systems in the area, and so much more. 

Another piece that was critically important was to highlight the diversity of Baldwin County’s five different regions. 



Eastern Shore



Each of these areas has their own unique vibe, landscape, and opportunities. Our goal through the website was to give out-of-towners an easy way to see which region resonated with them.

Our friends at Belong in Baldwin were excited to roll this brand out, so we gave them the works. Everything from street signage and handouts to social media skins and a whole bundle of dynamic swag options for when they take the show on the road. The layout on these deliverables used color blocks and layers to establish a look that was equally playful and professional. You can really see how all of the brand elements came together in these mocks and how the opportunities for even more swag are endless using our custom pattern. 

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