The Manatee Economic Development Corp. (EDC) on November 27 unveiled its outreach initiative to promote the Bradenton area and Manatee County as a business location to grow jobs and create a more diverse local economy.
More than 300 business and civic leaders attended the announcement event where Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope was the keynote speaker. Also at the event, the EDC introduced its officers and board members for 2013.
The new outreach strategy “bolts on” to a multi-year economic development strategy created in 2009 with broad community participation. Major elements of the outreach program, which is based on research with business location decision-makers, include:
· Promoting the place name primarily as “Bradenton Area” and changing the EDC’s name to Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp.
· Visually identifying the community’s business location brand through a logo featuring a stylized version of the Skyway Bridge and the words “Bradenton Area Economic Development”
· Providing a sophisticated, targeted approach to identifying and reaching business location decision-makers
· Identifying professional, cost-effective tools and tactics for delivering the message
“In the past 36 months, the economic development strategy has been slowly paying off with new, year-round jobs and capital investment from diverse industries. While those results are encouraging, the outreach initiative is designed to accelerate the pace and effectiveness of our outreach to the experts who influence business location decisions,” said Sharon Hillstrom, president and chief executive officer for the EDC.
“As we analyzed research conducted with the key audience we need to reach – site locators for businesses – the name ‘Bradenton’ was proven to have stronger national recognition than ‘Manatee County’,” Hillstrom said. “The name ‘Bradenton Area’ also was recently adopted for tourism marketing in the county, as well as for the convention center. Consistency in the place name used for tourism and economic development outreach will allow both efforts to collaborate more effectively.”
“Based on this research, we are modifying our message and our organization’s name to capitalize on the ‘Bradenton Area’ name,” Hillstrom said. The EDC’s name change will take effect in early 2013.
To develop the outreach initiative, the EDC worked with Atlas Advertising, which has extensive experience in economic development marketing and strong relationships among the experts who advise companies on facilities locations.
“Though nearby communities, such as Tampa, are very much on the radar of corporate relocation and site consultants, Manatee County has historically been overlooked,” said Ben Wright, chief executive officer for Atlas. “Only a third of the consultants we interviewed were aware of Manatee County, compared to nearly two thirds for some of the most competitive markets we have seen.”
“Conversely, there is some national name recognition for Bradenton. Economic development efforts will be able to build on that, and work alongside the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau to grow the business brand for the area,” Wright said.
Hillstrom said the EDC will launch a new website promoting the Bradenton area as a business location in the first quarter of 2013. Examples of additional elements in the outreach strategy include a direct marketing campaign targeting site selection professionals; working with Bradenton area companies to cultivate leads through their business relationships; attending one industry-specific trade show; and driving prospects to the new website through a robust social media campaign and ongoing media relations.
“We are excited to carry this dynamic, progressive message and identity for our community to targeted businesses nationally and around the globe,” Hillstrom said. “The Bradenton area has a great story to tell. Businesses are receptive and intrigued by the location assets we offer, the business-friendly climate of local governments and the lower cost of doing business here, compared to many markets.”
Since the economic development strategy was created in 2009, 50 businesses have announced relocations or expansions in Manatee County. If all of the projects come to fruition, over 3500 jobs will be created or preserved through 2018, generating more than $1.7 billion in potential wages of direct and indirect jobs. Capital investment by the companies is projected at more than $397 million through the same period. The EDC also reported that in Fiscal Year 2012, 13 businesses announced plans to expand or relocate in Manatee County, projecting over 1000 jobs in the next five to seven years.
“The new wealth that companies bring to a community when they sell their goods and services outside the local area should not be taken lightly,” Hillstrom said. “The ripple effect is substantial. Local spending increases when high-impact jobs are created, which supports consumer-based businesses all year long.”
For every 100 high-impact jobs added by businesses in sectors targeted by the economic development strategy, up to $11 million in local consumer spending is generated, according to research conducted by Younger Associates for the EDC.
“The Bradenton area is a prime example of what’s right in Florida,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who also serves as president and CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state’s lead economic development organization. “From its business climate to its talented workforce, the Bradenton area increasingly is attracting companies that recognize the benefits of doing business in its vicinity. The new marketing strategy will better position economic developers to succeed in their important work.”
The EDC’s officers for 2013 are Chair, John Rice, Rice’s Appliance –TV & Outdoor Power Products; Immediate Past Chair, Jerry Marlar, Mauldin & Jenkins CPAs LLC ; Treasurer, Dayton Amey, Tropicana Products; Secretary, Mark Barnebey, Blalock Walters, P.A.; and At Large, Mike Moschella, Hancock Bank.
Board members are Jodi Allen, Cadence Bank; Bob Bartz, Manatee Chamber of Commerce; Paul Blackketter, Benderson Development; Vice Mayor David Brenner, Town of Longboat Key; Shari Brickley, Herald-Tribune Media Group; David Brooks, BB&T; Commissioner John Chappie, Manatee Board of County Commissioners; Chris Ciaccio, IMG Academy; Jack Cox, Halfacre Construction; Ted Ehrlichman, Suncoast Workforce; Rick Fawley, Fawley|Bryant Architects; Trevor Gooby, Pittsburgh Pirates; Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant, City of Palmetto; Ed Hunzeker, Manatee County Administrator; Brian Kennelly, Schroeder-Manatee Ranch; Kevin McLaughlin, Hann Powerboats; Len Najjar, ZNS Engineering; Kevin Osborne, SunTrust; Marc Paquin, Cambryn Biologics/Famiglio Companies; Brian Parrish, Bright House Networks; Chris Perkins, Fifth Third Bank; Mayor Wayne Poston, City of Bradenton; Deborah Robinson, IRISS; Byron Shinn, Shinn & Company; Warren Simonds, Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance; David Teitelbaum, Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce; Terry Tramell, Bradenton Herald; Darrell Turner, Turner Tree & Landscape; Steve Tyndal, Port Manatee; Bill Webster, Bealls.
About the EDC
The Manatee Economic Development Corp. works to attract new high-impact businesses and assist in the retention and growth of targeted existing businesses in Manatee County. Information: www.ManateeEDC.com.