Keynetics CEO says Idaho needs a brand

Brad Wiskirchen says the state's most famous agricultural product is a success story to emulate.

adutton@idahostatesman.comOctober 25, 2013 

Brad Wiskirchen told an audience of Idaho business leaders Thursday that he's tired of people in other states asking him, "Why Idaho?"

Instead, he wants business owners to ask, "How did you get there? How can I get there?"

Wiskirchen is CEO of Keynetics, a Boise technology company. He moved to Boise after graduating from University of Notre Dame Law School because he "thought it had tremendous potential," he said.

Boise is highly ranked nationally for its quality of life, low cost of living and outdoor recreation. But other states offer those features, he said.

What they don't offer is access - something his peers lack. He said it's been easy for him to reach the CEOs of local hospitals, Gov. Butch Otter and other leaders.

Wiskirchen spoke at the annual Idaho Private 75 luncheon sponsored by the Idaho Statesman, KeyBank, the Holland & Hart law firm and the KPMG accounting firm.

The Idaho Private 75, a ranking of 75 top privately held Idaho companies, will be published in a special advertising section in Sunday's Statesman.

Wiskirchen did not propose a brand concept, saying only that branding "deserves a bunch of people sitting around in a room."

He cited as good examples the Famous Idaho Potato campaigns by the Idaho Potato Commission, including a national tour of a mega-potato on a truck.

Other states have the soil and technology to make great potatoes, but Idaho potatoes boast a well-cultivated brand, he said.

"The sad part is that when you do Internet searches on Idaho, some of the jokes that I threw out (about Idaho earlier in the speech) pop up," he said. "That's probably not the message we want."

Keynetics subsidiary Kount offers e-commerce fraud detection. Its subsidiary ClickBank is an online digital-products retailer.

Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, Twitter: @IDS_Audrey

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