With more than three decades of experience, Jim Walton is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading experts in economic development marketing. A powerful ally for economic development professionals, Brand Coach Jim is regularly invited to share his knowledge about community branding and location marketing at conferences and meetings. Audiences appreciate the practical, actionable advice he delivers.

Active in many state, regional, and national economic development organizations, Jim is a graduate of the Basic Economic Development Course at Ball State University. He is currently teaching the marketing sessions for the Indiana Basic Economic Development Course and the Ohio Basic Economic Development Course.

Jim delivers presentations on a variety of topics, including these popular choices:

Workforce Development Not Cutting It? Now’s the Time to Focus on Workforce Attraction!

While workforce development is an absolute must, it may be too slow for the demands of your employers. In this presentation, Jim takes a hard look at workforce attraction marketing and how to address the needs of employers who are in crisis mode.

Attendees will get answers to these questions:

  • What skills are needed right now?
  • Where do you find people?
  • How do you reach them?
  • Who will pay for an expensive media marketing campaign?
Advanced Location Marketing for Economic Development

What’s the difference between your community and others? What do they have that you don’t have? Why do they get a closer look while you’re virtually ignored?

In an upbeat, empowering presentation, Brand Coach Jim Walton reveals the answers to these and many other nagging questions. He helps communities identify their unique brand, capture it in powerful messaging, and communicate it consistently and effectively.

Jim provides a practical explanation of what branding really is and then outlines a series of powerful methods that help communities appreciate their unique place in the mind of consumers, site selectors, retailers, real estate professionals, and prospective workers.

Attendees will get answers to these questions:

  • What is a brand?
  • What is your community brand?
  • What is your community brand message?
  • How can you effectively tell your story?
Mastering Your Community Pitch

Economic developers often find themselves in unanticipated face-to-face situations with just minutes to introduce themselves and tell their community story to corporate executives, site consultants, real estate professionals, or developers who have the power to influence investment and jobs projects that could dramatically impact a community.

In this power-packed presentation, Brand Coach Jim Walton addresses the needs and expectations of each audience, explaining what they want to hear and how your competitors often waste their time and spoil valuable opportunities.

Attendees will get answers to these questions:

  • What is the first thing they want to hear from you?
  • When at an event, which people should you approach?
  • How do you create an effective thirty-second pitch?
  • What do they NOT want to hear from you?
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Charleton L. “Chuck” Whipple, SCCED
Midlands Technical College
Executive Director Enterprise Campus Authority and Economic Development

In my tenure as an Economic Development professional I’ve heard countless speeches on countless topics; some have stuck with me and Jim’s happens to be one of them. I was fortunate enough to hear Jim speak a few months ago at the SCEDA Advanced Symposium in Seneca, SC. Jim spoke about advanced location marketing and mastering community pitch. He was extremely engaging and enlightening. He was passionate about the subject matter, which could certainly be felt by his audience. I would highly recommend Jim as a keynote speaker if you’re looking for valuable information shared in a motivational way.

Stephen Eastridge_testimonial
Stephen Eastridge
Jasper County Economic Development Organization
Executive Director

I had the pleasure of hearing Jim speak during the Indiana Basic Economic Development Course. The information he provided was not only helpful and insightful, but extremely powerful in that it helped me understand the way a site selector thinks and operates. Jim and Brand Acceleration are focused on economic development branding and marketing. His knowledge and expertise of these two crucial pieces of the economic development puzzle were extremely obvious during his presentation. I would recommend to anyone who ever has a chance to hear Jim speak to do so, he is true master of his craft.

Tanya Sumner
Tanya Sumner
Town of Whitestown, Indiana
Director of Public Relations

I had the pleasure of hearing Jim Walton speak at a Ball State University economic development course. He was one of the most engaging and memorable speakers at the conference, sharing real-world knowledge about economic development marketing that I really felt I could take back to my community and put into action. In today’s social media driven world, messaging and branding have never been more important. Jim Walton’s practical tips and examples are worth hearing for any group hoping to help their brand stand out.

Mark Barbash
Mark Barbash
Institute at Ohio Economic Development Association
Director of the Ohio Economic Development

Jim Walton has presented at the Ohio Basic Economic Development Course several times and has done a great job each time. He has a direct and clear presentation style that helps students to understand key concepts and improve their social outreach.

Ashley R.
Ashley Rattanasengchanh
Athens County Economic Development Council
Senior Project Specialist

I had the opportunity to listen to Jim present at a conference I attended in Columbus, Ohio. Jim was an excellent presenter and kept the group engaged throughout his entire presentation. He provided very tangible ideas of how we could improve our marketing. I wrote down several ideas of things I wanted to implement at my organization from his presentation. I hope I have the opportunity to attend another event that he will be speaking at in the future!

Dan French
Dan French
Brownfield Listings, LLC

Jim headlined a session on site marketing at our Brownfield & Opportunity Zone Bootcamp in Chicago and blew the audience away with his knowledge, insight and candor. I received a lot of positive feedback on his presentation. A lot. He stood out in a deep lineup of strong speakers, so I can’t recommend him enough. Absolutely at the top of his craft and clear-eyed on the objective realities of site marketing, site selection, and economic development.

Lorie Vincent1
Lorie Vincent, CEcD
Founder | President 

Over the years, I have had the awesome opportunity to have hired Jim to speak to several economic development groups that I have been associated with. Jim is the consummate professional. His presentations are filled with years of experience and from working with hundreds of clients. He brings the most current trends, strategies and what’s working and not working in the world of economic development-all wrapped up in a vibrant and visionary presentation. His material is relevant, timely and filled with valuable take-aways. As a presenter he is engaging and witty and always receives high marks from the attendees. I highly recommend Jim as a presenter and his company, Brand Acceleration, as a valuable resource for economic development organizations.

Robbie Baylor-WVEDC
Roberta "Robbie" Baylor, PCED
West Virginia Economic Development Council

I highly recommend both Colleen and Jim Walton. They both gave presentations at the West Virginia Economic Development Conference. Both are dynamic presenters and the presentations were educational and interesting. They kept the audience engaged.

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