Life in Indy Highlights the Best of the Circle City
Writer / Renee Larr
A new collaborative initiative called Life in Indy seeks to attract residents to Indianapolis by providing a snapshot of everything that current residents love about their city. Life in Indy gives potential residents an insider’s view of neighborhoods, industries, careers, attractions and amenities. The website brings together content written by locals and a sphere of more than 200 Indyfluencers. The local volunteers are happy to connect and offer their advice for living, working and playing in the Circle City.
The concept dates back to when the Indy Chamber worked on the Amazon corporate headquarters bid. Ultimately the city placed in the top 20 but lost to another locale. The Indy Chamber felt it was time to consider pooling resources and content with the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (TCICP).
“Two things came out of that project,” says Joe Pellman, executive director of regional image marketing at the Indy Chamber. “We had amassed a ton of regional cooperation at a level we hadn’t seen before, and we were amassing a ton of content. We were having internal conversations about how to leverage some of those assets. At the same time, our partners at TCICP were having very similar conversations. We came together to create an image initiative.”
In the early days the project functioned under the code name Project Amplify. Ultimately the project leaders pivoted to what is now known as Life in Indy. Pellman says the team has honed in on its vision through the last several years.
The business and career component of the website focuses on key industries and employers, as well as professional networks and connections. The site’s community section dives deep into finding the perfect neighborhood, cost of living, education and transportation.
So what makes Life in Indy different from the other resources available to potential residents?
“We’re telling high-quality, consistent stories about what it’s like to live here, and we’re doing it from the point of view of those living it,” Pellman says. “I can write all sorts of marketing pieces about what it’s like to live here, but that doesn’t do it justice. Many markets do a great job of storytelling, but we need to ensure the content does something productive.”
The Life in Indy team seeks to gather as much data as possible to put the right resources in front of the right individuals. Pellman says other markets doing something similar don’t go as far as Life in Indy because the data collection process can get messy. He says the team prides itself on managing the chaos as much as possible.
“Indiana is known for its Hoosier hospitality,” says Kate Pangallo, director of talent partnerships at the Indy Chamber. “Essentially we’re the first handshake before someone even says ‘Yes’ to living here. We’re trying to capture that momentum to get the right resources in front of them quickly, to make their decision-making easier. Another point we strive to focus on is attracting people to live here and retaining the folks we already have living here.”
The pool of Indyfluencers is carefully curated to represent the diverse community living in the city. These volunteers are willing to chat, and even meet up to discuss what they love about living in Indianapolis.
“It’s important for a prospective resident to see themselves here,” says Lauren Kenny, Orr Fellow and Indyfluencer network manager at the Indy Chamber, “We’re looking at diversity, whether racial, faith based, industry, or involvement in clubs, organizations and activities. We also want to ensure people find relevant content, not just weather reports.”
Pangallo says programs like this are creating resident pride. Some of the data Life in Indy has collected suggests the city is losing residents to comparable markets such as Charlotte, Denver, Nashville, and Columbus, Ohio. Pellman says those markets are exceeding us from a growth perspective, while equivalent from an assets perspective. Pangallo says the program doesn’t just focus on a carefully curated image of the city, and is based on data acquired through various resources.
If someone is considering moving to the area and stumbles across the cache of Indyfluencers but can’t find someone with whom they resonate, Kenny is happy to play a matchmaker of sorts. Her first line of connection is the career industry, but she can make connections in various areas.
For more information, visit lifeinindy.com.