More #ILoveWichita Events and Promotions in 2018

2018 Chamber Chairman Bill Wood threw out the first pitch at the June 6 Wichita Wingnuts game and modeled the Wichita flag jerseys the team will wear on June 9.

The #ilovewichita movement has been making some measurable progress since it was initiated in 2015. The informal grassroots “pride in place” campaign is centered around the promotion of the city’s official flag and a hashtag proposed by the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW). Collaborations with area businesses, media outlets, and other partners have resulted in a positive platform and a powerful microphone for those who believe in collaborating to create the best possible future for our region.

Measurable Results
Last year the Chamber’s Quality of Place committee recommended leveraging the ongoing social media campaign in telling Wichita’s success stories and improving perceptions of the region’s quality of place. The committee’s chair, Ben Hutton, challenged Chamber Board members to apply an #ilovewichita decal to their front door to show community support and to use the same hashtag in their company and personal Twitter postings. He also extended the challenge to Chamber members.

The number of #ilovewichita Tweets has grown significantly since 2015.

The result was a major jump in the hashtag usage last year. Research by social media monitoring expert Ian Anderson Gray showed a significant increase from 913 mentions on Twitter in 2016 to 9,342 mentions in 2017—all without paid advertising or sponsored posts.

2018 Events and Promotions
Since its inception the campaign has been fueled by pride, passion and partnerships. In early 2018, the area’s minor league hockey team, the Wichita Thunder, hosted the first-ever #ilovewichita community pride night. The team wore specially-designed Wichita flag-themed jerseys for the January 20 game against the Colorado Eagles and the first 500 fans received special Wichita flag rally towels. Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell dropped the ceremonial hockey puck to kick off the game.

Adam Ortega of Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems designed and installed the new decal on the Chambers pedestal sign.

Chamber members M.A.D. Ad Company and Midwest Billboards have committed to accelerating the movement this year with a partnership that includes donating ad space to the cause. M.A.D. Ad Company has donated space on mirrored billboard displays that are positioned in area bars and restaurants, and Midwest Billboards has donated space on nine of their Wichita-area electronic billboards. The space utilizes repurposed images and content posted on Instagram using the hashtag #ilovewichita. Watch our social media channels later today (June 8) for a video announcement about a new social media contest.

The hashtag got another major boost this year when Wichita hosted the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It was utilized by Chamber partners Visit Wichita, the City of Wichita and INTRUST Bank Arena along with numerous area businesses, organizations and individuals. Our partnership with Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems in producing a giant basketball hoop and backboard included a large #ilovewichita decal and the seven-day social media contest they sponsored incorporated the hashtag in photos with the 3-dimensional display.

This month Luminous Neon Art & Sign Systems donated and applied an #ilovewichita decal to Chamber signage just in time for the annual Wichita River Festival. And the Wichita Wingnuts, Wichita’s independent baseball team and a member of the South Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball Association, are hosting an #ilovewichita night of baseball this Saturday at 7 p.m. when they take on the Kansas City T-Bones. The team will be wearing special Wichita flag jerseys designed just for this game.

Our thanks to all of our partners who continue to fuel pride in our region and improve our quality of life and place.

#ILoveWichita Campaign Strengthened by Partners

Chamber Board member Ben Hutton leads the 2017 Quality of Place Initiative.

By Ben Hutton
Chamber Board Lead for the Quality of Place Initiative
Chairman and CEO of Hutton Construction

In early 2015, the Chamber initiated a very informal grassroots “pride in place” campaign centered around a hashtag proposed by the Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW), #ILoveWichita, and the city’s official flag. Collaborations with area businesses, media outlets, and other partners resulted in the creation of a positive platform and a microphone for those who believe in collaborating to create the best possible future for our region.

Shelly Prichard with the Wichita Community Foundation said, “Whether highlighting a person, place or activity, we use #ILoveWichita to promote all the unique happenings in our community. We’re proud to amplify the stories to both visitors and locals to encourage them to explore Wichita.”

The Quality of Place committee that I chair for the Chamber recently recommended leveraging this ongoing social media campaign in telling Wichita’s success stories and improving perceptions of the region’s quality of place. Implementing this recommendation included challenging our members to apply an #ILoveWichita decal to their front door to show community support and using the same hashtag in their company and personal social media postings.

Our Chamber Chairman and CEO Gary Plummer recently met with three of our partner organizations to invite them to participate and further strengthen the campaign. They’ve enthusiastically agreed to encourage their board members and investors to actively support the campaign.

My thanks to Shelly Prichard of the Wichita Community Foundation, Jeff Fluhr of the Greater Wichita Partnership, and Susie Santo of Visit Wichita who have committed to adopting and promoting this effort. All three are current members of the Chamber’s Board who already work diligently to ensure that Wichita is the best place to visit as well as grow a business, family and career.

Jeff Fluhr with the Greater Wichita Partnership recently applied the #ILoveWichita decal and said, “We are excited to be a partner with the Chamber in the Pride in Place Campaign. This is a dynamic time for Wichita and there is a noticeable increase in the community’s pride; we are a City of tremendous opportunities!”

We’ve also met with the current co-chairs of the Greater Wichita Partnership Perceptions Task Force (Jerry Jones, Moji Rosson and Laura Bernstorf) to brief them on our plans. We appreciate the dedication and spirit of collaboration of these three area leaders who are also supporting these efforts.

Since its inception, this campaign has been fueled by pride, passion and partnerships. The inclusion of these important organizations in our ongoing efforts will further energize and amplify the reach of the campaign and add new enthusiasm for highlighting what’s best about Wichita.

Join the effort! It’s easy for your business or organization to get involved, too. Simply contact Courtney Sendall at the Chamber (316-268-1153) to schedule a time to apply the #ILoveWichita decal to your door and begin implementing the hashtag in your social media postings. Together we can create a constantly updated digital brochure to share our passion for the region with each other, visitors to the area and other communities around the world.

See the Chamber Update page in today’s Wichita Eagle for a listing of some of the organizations and companies who have already applied the #ILoveWichita decal.