Today’s Visitor, Tomorrow’s Talent

Sun Corridor Inc. Ramps Up Talent Attraction, Social Media Campaigns  

By Tara Kirkpatrick

As potential talent looks for new cities to live and work, Sun Corridor Inc. is seizing upon the results of a first-ever study it commissioned to find out what talent across the U.S. thinks about Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Among many insights, the survey shows Southern Arizona is viewed positively as a place to visit.  Its time to convert that visit into a stay, and the region’s economic development engine is all over it.

Talent acquisition has been a key focus for Sun Corridor Inc. since it created a post-pandemic Pivot Playbook in 2021 to advance the region after COVID-19. To that end, the organization first created the theme “Thrive in Tucson”, launching a website to show just how easy, affordable and advantageous this city is for new workers.

“We decided to really develop a robust program…to attract talent from outside Pima County,” said Laura Shaw, senior VP for Sun Corridor Inc. “First, we needed to make sure that we knew what talent actually thought of Tucson and Southern Arizona. I think this is the first study of its kind that’s been done here.”

The study, conducted by New York marketing firm DCI last fall, surveyed 1,500 working-age adults in California, Colorado, Illinois, Texas and Washington–300 from each state. Through the lens of lifestyle factors such as quality schools, cost of living, safety, amenities and many others, the study zeroed in on perceptions of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Its key findings included: 

  • Tucson and Southern Arizona are viewed positively as a place to visit, with few overall negative perceptions among those surveyed.
  • Talent is reprioritizing the importance of lifestyle-related factors but overall, job opportunities, safety and security, and cost of living will help sell the region.
  • Tucson has a significant opportunity to appeal to visitors who are there to experience the outdoors and cultural assets.
  • Potential talent values messages about our location, lifestyle/climate, key industries/job opportunities and marketing Tucson as more than a college town or retirement community.
  • Respondents labeled the region adventurous, relaxed, welcoming, historic and fun.

Overall, 64% of those surveyed were familiar with Southern Arizona. Talent most interested in relocating here were established in career and family life, and were also more likely to be influenced by stories in the media and rankings. Still, some respondents weren’t familiar with Tucson or the region’s growing economy. So, the work begins to market aggressively.

“We have a lot of opportunity to really make sure people think of Tucson as a place to live and work, after their visit,” Shaw said. 

Talent turns to media, rankings and social media to find out about regions to move to. 

Sun Corridor Inc. is now partnering with Visit Tucson and Pima County to showcase the region’s best qualities.  In addition to, new “Thrive In Tucson”-themed social media channels are now live on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Some new influencers have been vetted who will serve as chief ambassadors. A new digital ad campaign will cap off the program.

“Talent finds out about communities through either Googling or social media,” Shaw said. “So, those campaigns are now live, with new content and increasing numbers of followers. We are very excited.” 

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