Alex Giroux

(Special to Progress)

Bigfish Principal Joe Pizzimenti thinks Arizona's 5Cs need a 21st Century update.

As tech companies, financial services firms and other industries increasingly displace the cash crops of the past, the old five Cs – cotton, climate, cattle, copper, citrus – are experiencing increased competition for dominance in the state’s economy.

In the interest of more accurately reflecting Arizona’s economy in the 21st Century, Scottsdale-based Bigfish Creative Group launched a campaign to rebrand the five Cs for the modern age.

The new Cs are a little different than their predecessors, though.

Rather than reflecting crops, products or verticals, the new categories are broader and encompass ideas rather than specific industries.

Those new categories are culture, community, commerce, connectivity and catalyst.

That ambiguity was intentional.

“We wanted something that was a little high level that a lot of the people in the state could relate to,” Bigfish Jr. Account Manager Alex Giroux said.

Bigfish Principal Joe Pizzimenti, who came up with the campaign, said he was inspired by his love of Arizona and desire to help the state continue to attract new industries.

“That’s how we all win, and it is near and dear to my heart,” he said.

“I wanted to show how the economy has changed,” he said. “It’s not just about cattle or cotton or citrus (anymore).”

Still, Pizzimenti is quick to point out that the new Cs are not meant to completely displace the state’s legacy industries. Rather, they are designed to bring newer businesses into the fold.

“It is not that old industries aren’t important,” Giroux said. “We just wanted to showcase all the other things Arizona has to offer.”

Justin Beckett, chef and restaurateur behind restaurants like Beckett’s Table and Southern Rail, said he liked the old 5 Cs because of the way Arizonans identified with the concept, and he is excited about moving it forward.

“I like the fact that (the new 5 Cs) were easily relatable to patrons all the way to business owner, to anyone really. They are adaptable to you,” Beckett said.

Giroux pointed out that most of the new categories apply a range of industries and that many businesses in Arizona fall under several of the new five Cs.

Of connectivity, she said it could apply to everything from Silicon Valley-type companies with a presence here like Amazon or Apple to local retailers that leverage social media well to connect with customers.

Pizzimenti said the community category is particularly important and could represent both businesses that contribute to the Arizona community as a whole and those that develop their own communities such as Fox Restaurant Concepts.

In pushing a new five Cs narrative, Bigfish has some high profile allies from the Arizona Commerce Authority and Arizona State University to local businesses like Beckett’s Table and Hickman Farms.

“We are seeing a shift to a more diversified economy, and the new five Cs reflect those values,” said Nicole Stanton, managing partner at the Phoenix office of law firm Quarles & Brady.

Stanton, wife of former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, said that accurately representing the ways in which Arizona’s economy has diversified benefits businesses and residents by promoting stability.

“By supporting technology, healthcare (and other industries), we are supporting an economy that doesn’t have to be in one place at one time,” she said.

Stanton noted, “A diversification, not an abandonment (of the old five C industries).”

Avnet Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Sellers said he is a longtime Valley resident and has watched the Phoenix Metro area grow from a blip on the map to one of the country’s largest cities. He said that as the city continues to grow, it is important to show the rest of the country why that growth is happening.

“I think it’s important to reflect that in the way we talk about and promote Phoenix, as well as the entire state of Arizona, in order to continue to attract new businesses as well as new residents and students,” he said.