January 27, 2016

2016 is off to a bang at AMA’s Atlanta Chapter! For those of you not able to attend this year-opening event, here are a few noteworthy recaps:

  • AMA Atlanta has 59 new members since the close of 2015.
  • AMA Atlanta is the 3rd largest Chapter nationally, quickly catching up to Houston.
  • AMA Atlanta now boasts 55 Group Members, being companies with four or more members.

Upcoming AMA Atlanta Events 

It’s worth noting that the first BKV Social Series event is coming up on January 21st, and our February Signature Luncheon on consumer trends (featuring Heidi Browning Pearson of Pandora) will be February 23rd. For those of you still in school, the 30th Annual Collegiate Conference Mixer is coming up on February 25th, with the actual Collegiate Conference & Job Fair itself being held on the 26th. Also, the 59th Annual AMY Awards at the fabulous Fox Theater are quickly approaching quickly, so plan accordingly and get your tickets before it’s too late!

Mary also took this opportunity to point out two opportunities for AMA Atlanta members. First, the AMA Atlanta job board, where you can try a 30 day free trial and then post for as little as $145. Second, the AMA Atlanta Mentorship program that we highly recommend checking out if you see value in giving/receiving career advice.

After some networking and finding our seats, the crowd calmed as Kate Atwood was introduced and brought to the stage to begin her presentation.

Choose ATL: Creating a Movement

Kate promptly captured our attention by opening with the brand new ChooseATL video (below), and a depiction of a longtime project of hers that sits very close to her heart, Kate’s Club. For those unfamiliar, Kate’s Club is an organization on a mission to empower children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling.

Kate explained the new promotional video as a love letter to Atlanta, and it was extremely well received among the attendees. Kate explained the thought process behind this video, explaining her perspective that Atlanta is a very unique community. “Our hospitality is Atlanta’s secret sauce for new college grads looking to make something happen.” Here, in Atlanta, young people have the unique opportunity to step in and immediately get their hands dirty, similar to how Kate started her Club.

As you can see, Kate’s Club is as unique an organization as Atlanta is a city, and Kate explained her journey as a young person getting her hands dirty in bringing it to life. From hosting a bar night which raised $1,200, to now residing in a Midtown clubhouse (tour here!) with a full-time staff of five; Kate’s Club has come a long way and the passion + hustle to pull this off was thanks to Atlanta’s hospitable ecosystem. As Kate explained, people surrounded her concept and mission, and we are seeing similar support with her ChooseATL initiatives.

In creating a powerful ChooseATL brand, and driving social impact, it’s important that we are collectively intentional about who we attract and bring to our city, as they hold an integral part in shaping the future of our community. Kate has been working relentlessly over the past few months to promote narratives around the special energy we all feel in Atlanta, and learning to boast,

“Look at us! We are a global star!”


Kate then highlighted two main strategies around the branding:

1- Meet them where they are.

Meaning, meet the candidates, who are weighing various choices and options, in the virtual space where they’re already playing. Show them all the neighborhoods Atlanta has to offer. Describe to them the vibrant scene that is downtown, and the walkability. The website should reflect these key attributes, and candidates should walk away feeling virtually connected and aware of all Atlanta has to offer.

2- Evolve perceptions.

Share with the world what Atlanta has to offer! From movies, to entrepreneurship, to startups and major corporations; Atlanta is rockin’. Kate even joked about starting a hashtag #WhoKnew to exemplify all of Atlanta’s attributes and misinformed perceptions. This is where the Imagine ad campaign concepts were derived.

imagine kate7

An interesting finding within the Metro Atlanta Chamber, that Kate shared, is that other competitive cities of similar size have been successfully marketing themselves all along! Look at Houston, Columbus, and Nashville for example. It’s time we begin sharing with the world what we have to offer, and creating a sense of connection to those who may not have an opportunity to visit prior to making a career decision.

A few new tools, or engagement tactics, Kate is considering introducing include a Neighborhood Quiz to determine where you might fit best in the City, as well as a dedicating a portion of the website to Atlantans sharing their stories and perspectives on why they chose Atlanta. Stay tuned. . .

Kate’s most recently organized event, the Ultimate Job Interview Contest, opened for entries back in October 2015 and the finale event was held this January 5-6 at the Georgia General Assembly in Ponce City Market. The contest was for college students looking to Choose ATL and leave their mark on the city. Kate hopes to grow the size of the competition each year. There’s no doubt that this is a winning recipe, as the opportunity to directly pitch top executives for jobs (as well as a hefty check) will surely capture the attention of college students. Although engagement was not as high as initially expected, ChooseATL was still able to capture valuable evergreen content, and new platforms for marketing the city through each of the contestants’ entries. As always, feedback is invaluable, so feel free to provide your feedback and ideas via the Contact Us form here. Congratulations to all the #UJIC finalists and winners!

Kate wrapped up the presentation by discussing the four key roles required to grow the ChooseATL program. Along with the importance of being intentional, Kate noted the need to be transparent – to highlight the good and the bad about Atlanta – since we’re far from perfect. The roles are listed below:

Honest Evangelists: Realistic and honest. Atlanta is a place where you can make a difference. Just look at Detroit and Baltimore—Millennials flocked there following unsatisfactory newscasts, and decreases in public opinion, because they’re places that at 21 you can get involved quickly and make an immediate difference.

Enthusiastic Hosts: This points back to capturing Atlanta, and the South’s, hospitable nature. We must find a way to convey this message on social media, like LinkedIn, which is growing immensely in the 18-24 year old demographic.

Valued Connectors: Think jobs, social initiatives, and volunteering. The Ultimate Job Interview Contest is a start, but we must continue to provide resources for young people considering our community.

Creative Storytellers: Provide those considering Atlanta with a lens to look through. Otherwise, they might not know what they’re looking at! This is the space where creative marketing and advertising campaigns will be of the utmost importance, as they’ll shape the first impression many receive of the professional landscape Atlanta has to offer.

Lastly, for those of you attending SXSW Interactive this year, the Metro Chamber and Choose ATL will have a house on Congress March 13th and 14th. I’ll be there, various AMA Atlanta members will be there–Kate surely will–and we hope to see Atlanta show up in big numbers for the takeover!

With ChooseATL as the platform, this is just the beginning. Exciting initiatives to come!

For more information on why you should #ChooseATL, check out their sites here:

And be sure to connect with AMA Atlanta and join in on the conversation:

Blog by: Steffan Pedersen | Director of Digital Marketing, Object 9 | @steffanpedersen

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