June 26, 2012
Brand Hub goes worldwide
Cincinnati has long been known as the hub of brands, and a
renewed push, called BrandHUB, seeks to identify the region as the worldwide leader in consumer products
and brand development. The push is driven by the Cincinnati USA
Partnership, the economic development arm of the Chamber.
"The business of branding and innovative consumer marketing
began with Procter & Gamble, but our story is much larger and
broader than one company," said Denyse Ferguson, senior vice
president with the Chamber and manager of the BrandHUB effort.
This year, the Chamber is orchestrating two opportunities to
tell the BrandHUB story internationally.
This fall, the Chamber will lead a delegation to Israel to
showcase our branding prowess. Israel has an amazing track record of entrepreneurialism. Israeli
citizens have the highest density of start-ups anywhere in the world, and Israel has attracted twice as much
venture capital per person than the U.S. - and more than 30 times
more than Europe.
But while Israel is proficient in innovation, it lags in
branding and marketing. The goal of the trip is to connect Cincinnati marketing and branding expertise with
Israeli entrepreneurs to help startups grow. Also this fall, the Chamber will host a dozen German companies
that see the potential of working with the best of the
international consumer marketing sector.
Why is Cincinnati a leader in this space? One reason is that we
In 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression, a Cincinnati
businessman named Neil McElroy wrote a memo outlining the duties
and roles of a brand manager.
The memo was credited by Time Magazine and other sources as the
basis for modern consumer branding. McElroy went on to become
Procter & Gamble's CEO and later the U.S. Secretary of Defense
under President Dwight Eisenhower.
Today, beyond the world's largest consumer goods company, we are
also home to the nation's largest grocery store chain (Kroger) and
the largest department store company (Macy's), all of which are
masters of consumer marketing and brand management. Many of the
brand design consultancies that support these and other companies
are clustered within a few blocks of one another in the city's
This includes international leaders such as Landor Associates
(branding and identity), Possible Worldwide (digital marketing) and
Rockfish Interactive (digital strategy), each of which belongs to
the prestigious, U.K.-based WPP communications services group.
Cincinnati also is home to the world's second-largest Nielsen office as well as the largest
employee-owned brand consultancy in LPK.
Consumer products and brand development companies located here
have a significantly higher growth rate than similar companies located in the top 25 metros. And
the growth is continuing this year.
Earlier this year, Kao USA Inc., a consumer-package goods
manufacturer of well-known brands such as Ban, Bioré, Curel,
Jergens and John Frieda, announced that downtown will become its
new headquarters of the Americas. Kao is investing $21 million in
two facilities - a new headquarters office where it will move more
than 200 positions, and its Spring Grove research, development and
And dunnhumbyUSA, a worldwide leader in consumer marketing
knowledge, announced it will move its headquarters to the long underutilized lot at the corner of
Fifth and Race streets in downtown.
In 2003, dunnhumbyUSA had three employees. By the end of 2014,
the market research firm is expected to have about 1,000 employees.
A reason for this exponential growth is its location in Cincinnati,
"Our vision is to be recognized as the consumer branding capital
of the world. All of the pieces are in place - now it's time for us
to think big and tell the world," said Ferguson.