We don’t need a brand. We need an experience.


Just about every big city initiative conversation winds back to the same trite statement, “Milwaukee really just needs a brand.” As if a well-executed slogan and logo is the secret missing element that explains why the graduates of our 34 regional higher education institutions choose to leave when starting their careers or that local companies struggle to convince senior executives and their trailing partners to uproot their families to move here. Guess what? A brand is the not the silver bullet that will solve all of our talent woes.

So what’s the answer? Experiences – in-person, tangible experiences.

We see parallels in the talent conversation with the ways general marketing practices have shifted over time. “According to a recent study, 59 percent of chief marketing officers recognize brand experience ‘for its ability to create ongoing relationships with key audiences.’ They also said they are spending more on live events, with more than one in three of these executives saying they expect to allocate 21 to 50 percent of their budgets to brand- experience marketing over the next three to five years….People want to be entertained, they want to be engaged, they want to learn, they want all those things. And those programs that are doing that and are integrative are definitely more successful.”1

What does that mean however for a place like Milwaukee? A place that is not currently on the radar of the brightest and best talent as a workplace destination?

It means we literally need to bring them here and give them an amazing experience – before we can even begin the conversation about sending them FTE offers.

Enter – Make it in Milwaukee – a new talent pipeline strategy, which focuses on attracting diverse student candidates from outside the state of Wisconsin as well as retaining young Milwaukee-area talent through an immersive three-day adventure. 

The program proactively engages potential new hires with what it would mean to choose a career in and to change the perception of the city of Milwaukee among young millennials and generation z. Students must apply for the program and area companies vet the applications for viable candidate with majors in focus areas that are most coveted for their organization.

The goal is to attract diverse talent from other markets by showing them the best of what our companies and Milwaukee have to offer. NEWaukee recognizes that millennials and generation z choose the place they want to live before choosing the company they want to work for. Through Make it in Milwaukee, we are able to connect students to one another, a variety of company cultures, and the larger community in a compelling and exciting new way.

While in town, the cohort of students enjoy meeting executives at a live band brunch, tours and job shadowing experiences, VIP access to NEWaukee signature events like the Night Market, and the opportunity to interview for open roles at area companies.

The Make it in Milwaukee program is one of NEWaukee’s experiential recruiting services, which gives companies the opportunity to leverage the large community as a unique selling proposition for desirable candidates.  

NEWaukee realizes there is no one-size-fits-all recruiting strategy, especially with the younger generation. Make it in Milwaukee gives students an opportunity to explore life as a young professional in a city they were not previously considering as a career destination. It also gives the participating companies the chance to actively differentiate itself as an employer of choice in an ultra-competitive job market.

To learn more about Make it in Milwaukee, please visit: www.makeitinmilwaukee.com.

To learn more about experiential recruiting or about how NEWaukee can service your talent needs, please visit: www.newaukee.com/services.

1Smart CMOs are seeing the value of in-person brand experiences and events.