GNO Inc. describes branding strategies for Pelicans parternship

Members of the New Orleans Pelicansbasketball team will soon be carried aloft in seaplanes to explore the dynamics of the Louisiana coast as part of a new partnership between Greater New Orleans Inc. and the city’s NBA franchise.

The partnership, which was announced earlier this week, is intended to promote economic growth in New Orleans and raise awareness of the importance of coastal restoration in Southeast Louisiana. According to Michael Hecht, the president and CEO of GNO Inc, the partnership will take a variety of forms.

In addition to flying Pelican players like star forward Anthony Davis over the coastline, GNO Inc. will enter into a co-branding effort with the Pelicans to bring attention to the economic development organization’s Emerging Environmental sector.

As Hecht described it, the sector is designed to create wealth and jobs by addressing water issues. “Currently, Louisiana companies are managing about $300 million in contracts in New York and New Jersey to help rebuild and restructure after Hurricane Sandy,” he said.

“Ultimately, we want be the Dutch of North America,” he said, noting that Holland drives a significant percentage of its gross domestic product by selling water management expertise to other countries. This fact was the subject of a new story in the New York Times Magazine.

On a more immediate basis, The Smoothie King Center, the newly named stadium where the Pelicans play, will begin scrolling the latest encouraging regional statistics about New Orleans and Louisiana on video screens during games.

The overall goal of the partnership, Hecht said, is to combine the notoriety and style of an NBA franchise with the substance of GNO Inc.’s attempt to galvanize the community around the issue of coastal stabilization.

“Using the Pelicans’ assets should provide some great branding opportunities for the region,” he said.

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