Alabama economic developers excited about the sequel


Alabama’s economic developers were thinking in the present when they gathered last week – their first opportunity to meet physically since the pandemic – at the Alabama Economic Development Association’s summer conference. But Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield quickly focused them on the future, unveiling the Commerce Department’s new “Next” campaign to kick off the meeting.

“’Next’ is really about the future,” he said.

Building on the Made in Alabama brand launched by the Department of Commerce in 2013, Canfield said “Next” is what is, well, next.

“Made in Alabama has allowed us to tell a story about Alabama, the companies that have invested here and have had the opportunity to grow here and make and assemble great products – to make some of the best products in the world and deliver them to 194 countries around the world, ”Canfield told Alabama NewsCenter. “Made in Alabama Next is our vision for the future of Alabama’s economy and the types of high-tech, life sciences, and other technological opportunities that will truly create Alabama’s new economy. “

Alabama business developers respond to Alabama NewsCenter’s “Next” campaign on Vimeo.

The campaign was launched with a website – – that features 3D animations that come to life when you move the cursor over the page. It will also include digital and print ads, some of which will include QR codes to provide a three-dimensional experience. All commercial campaigns are designed and led by Big Communications, based in Birmingham.

More than an advertising campaign, “Next” defines the state’s vision for economic development and calls on other state economic development entities to support it.

“I love the ‘Next’ campaign and I think now is a good time to do it too,” Greg Barker, president of the Alabama Economic Development Partnership, told the Alabama NewsCenter. “When you think of the economic development of Alabama, we have traditionally been successful in attracting manufacturers to the state. But we really want to think beyond that – not to the exclusion of that – but we want to think beyond that and that’s exactly what the “Next” campaign does.

Pandemic-proof companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google have made the state their home. Aerospace giants like Airbus, Boeing and Blue Origin are making planes and rockets that take Alabama’s industry to new heights.

“The sky is not the limit,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said at the conference.

From electric vehicles, digital smart factories and next-generation rockets to new drug discoveries, genomic medicine and breakthroughs in additive manufacturing, “Next” feels like it’s already here for Alabama. .

“This is a different kind of tech company,” Barker said. “This is the advanced manufacturing of the modern era. It’s watching a lot of these things and it’s going to make a difference with this audience, I’m completely convinced of that.

Jim Searcy, executive director of the Alabama Economic Development Association, said members were ecstatic about the campaign throughout the conference.

“We appreciate Secretary Canfield and the Department of Commerce for taking this opportunity to launch the new campaign at our summer conference,” Searcy said. “This is an excellent continuation of the marketing effort that has started. That’s what anyone familiar with branding, marketing, and advertising will tell you – it’s consistency. It is not an event, it is a process.

Canfield said that while the types of industries that are central to “Next” may be associated with larger subways like Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile, the countryside and its focus is not confined to any part of the state and are working with Made in Alabama’s RurAL Campaign to target industries for all of Alabama.

Made in Alabama Next from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

“Then it’s the whole state,” he said. “The beautiful thing about all of this is that we have a comprehensive strategy in our Accelerate Alabama plan, and we’ve been able to take that plan because it’s adaptable and we’ve adapted to rural needs. RurAL is part of our sub-brand under Made in Alabama. Really, it’s about getting more evidence that businesses can invest in rural Alabama communities and be very successful. “

Case in point: Electric batteries for Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles that will be built in Tuscaloosa County will be manufactured in Bibb County. Oh, and the nation’s first large-scale graphite processing plant for a key part of electric vehicle batteries is under construction in Coosa County with $ 124 million in Alabama Graphite Products from Westwater Resources.

“’Next’ is all about the 67 counties, all the communities that want to participate in economic development and find a way for them to do it,” Canfield said.

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