Three Wake County organizations partner in destination awareness and talent acquisition effort.


Raleigh, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2020) – March 15-18, a team of economic development partners representing Raleigh and Wake County will travel to the South by Southwest Interactive Trade Show in Austin in an effort to promote Raleigh and Wake County as a great place to visit, live, work or start a business. The initiative is a partnership between Wake County Economic Development, the City of Raleigh Office of Economic Development and Innovation and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh).

The group’s presence at SXSW is critical to the organization’s combined strategic goals of showcasing Raleigh as a diverse and inclusive community as it relates to people, business, industry and culture. The SXSW activation drives the following:

  • Brand awareness of Greater Raleigh
  • Promote Greater Raleigh as a destination
  • Attract top talent to Greater Raleigh
  • Share the Greater Raleigh ecosystem story - from startups to global giants
  • Drive business development in Greater Raleigh - small and large business

2020 represents the seventh year that Raleigh and Wake County have had a presence at the trade show. This year’s activation will unveil a new campaign spearheaded by Wake County Economic Development with inclusion and support from the other partner organizations as well as the private sector titled, “East Coast Made Easy”. The campaign aims to position Raleigh as “A city built by thinkers and doers looking to make a difference. A community with big city hustle without the hassle. A home that is welcoming and open. A culture that is kind and a life that is just easier. Raleigh—East Coast Made Easy.”

The development of the campaign is the result of a talent perception study which drove the creation of strategic messaging for marketing efforts. The perception study was conducted with the guidance and support from City of Raleigh Office of Economic Development, Wake County Economic Development and Development Counsellors International. Following the completion of the survey, Wake County Economic Developments marketing advisory committee selected the “East Coast Made Easy” messaging to further develop into a campaign for SXSW.

The “East Coast Made Easy” trade show booth activation will invite SXSW attendees to step into Raleigh to experience what makes Raleigh and Wake County a welcoming and inclusive place for all. Attendees in the booth will have a chance to interact with a mural created by local artist and designer Gino Reyes, of Creative Offices Of. The mural depicts Raleigh's ecosystem and showcases its quality of life by highlighting some of the area's key industries, its connectivity, quality of place, diverse culture and culinary scene all in a way that expresses the notion that Raleigh is truly "East Coast Made Easy."

Attendees will be invited to sample innovative and award-winning products from local companies Trophy Brewing Co., Slingshot Coffee Co. and Videri Chocolate Factory and learn more from the company’s founders about the innovation behind their products and processes and what makes Raleigh such a great location for small businesses and start-ups.

“We are counting down the days to showcasing Raleigh as the inclusive, international community we are while at South by Southwest (SXSW). The interactive trade show offers us a strategic opportunity to share what makes Raleigh an engaging community for all people and businesses,” said Veronica Creech, director of economic development and innovation, City of Raleigh. “We invite everyone to join us in sharing our culture and entrepreneurial community with SXSW’s global audience and look forward to telling the Raleigh story and sharing our hospitality.”

“This collaborative initiative has become very important to us over the years,” said Loren Gold, executive vice president of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh). “Research has shown time and again that tourism is economic development. Quality of place is just as important as talent and ecosystem to site selectors worldwide, and our mission as it pertains to supporting talent acquisition and recruitment is to turn tourists into talent and this is a prime example of that.”

The team behind this year’s SXSW campaign has created a thoughtful and strategic activation to help share what makes Raleigh “East Coast Made Easy.” Through the use of design and messaging we will be sharing our dynamic ecosystem story with people from around the world” said Michael Haley, executive director, Wake County Economic Development. “The SXSW trade show is truly a place where Raleigh can shine. We are excited to represent this incredible community.” 

The economic development collective will be joined at SXSW this year by other well-known Raleigh names, including:

The Raleigh SXSW team will be sharing live updates on the trade show, booth activities, relevant panel content from Raleigh area presenters and photos from the show. Programming details and updates will be available on, and on social media @RaleighWake, @Raleigh4u, @visitRaleigh and #Raleigh2SXSW.

About the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh):
As the official destination organization for Wake County, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh) is responsible for promoting Wake County as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, the organization strengthens the economic position of and provides opportunity for people in the community. Raleigh/Wake County, N.C., welcomes nearly 17 million visitors annually whose spending tops $2.7 billion. The visitor economy supports more than 27,000 local jobs in Wake County and generates $268 million in state and local tax revenues, saving each Wake County household $700 in taxes annually.

About Wake County Economic Development (WCED):
Wake County Economic Development (WCED), a program of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, is the primary economic development organization for Wake County and supports the economic development efforts of its 12 municipalities. WCED hosts clients evaluating Wake County for possible facility locations each year and facilitates dozens of corporate expansions, resulting in new jobs and capital investment for Raleigh and Wake County. For more information about WCED, visit

About the City of Raleigh Office of Economic Development and Innovation:
The Office of Economic Development and Innovation functions as the primary economic development agency for the City to assure continued growth and investment in Raleigh. The office’s focus is on business retention, business recruitment, workforce development, marketing and public relations while collaborating with area economic development alliances to ensure equitable economic development.

South By Southwest (SXSW):
SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2020 will take place March 13-22, 2020.

Media Contacts:
Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh)
Scott Peacock, Director of Public Relations
919.645.2676 or 614.551.7981

Wake County Economic Development
Jen Miller, Senior Manager, Strategic Marketing & Programs
919.664.7049 or 269.762.2226

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