The Ybor City Development Corporation (YCDC), a division of the City of Tampa’s Economic and Urban Development Department, facilitates the development, redevelopment, economic revitalization, and general improvement of Ybor City’s Historic District.
In late April of 2016, HCP Associates was named marketing firm of record of the YCDC. In May, HCP Associates took over all marketing for the district and simultaneously launched an assessment with the objectives of understanding development priorities from resident and worker perspectives; establishing benchmarks for satisfaction and recommendation levels; collecting perceived assets and opportunities for the district; documenting motivating factors for use in attracting future residents; gleaning benefits for potential businesses to relocate to Ybor City; identifying challenges to achieving residential, retail and commercial capacity; and solidifying how the stakeholders define Ybor City’s brand.
The participants shared factors of greatest importance—a sense of safety, walkability, things to do, and parking accessibility. They also highlighted Ybor’s strongest assets, including its historical significance, diversity, architecture, walkability, food and beverage, and activity. Learnings from visitors, residents, workers, business owners and leaders would shape the strategy and call attention to the district’s broader offerings to help grow its diverse community through additional economic development efforts. In addition, this process shaped the communication tools HCP Associates would use over the next year to communicate the assets of Ybor to prospects that match their profiles.
Once the strategy was defined and our foundational marketing plan was agreed to, the creative team refreshed the brand message and launched the website, fueled by the messages that rose to the top during the assessment. Our public relations professionals worked with the YCDC and city officials to devise a Crisis Management Plan. HCP Associates was also able to make recommendations regarding the structure of the YCDC committees, again ensuring that their focus matched the demands of the district’s stakeholders. During our eight months of involvement with the YCDC, social media engagement increased by 121 percent, positive comments on stories increased by 300 percent, relevant post shares increased by 23 percent, and our summer campaign tripled the number of people reached the previous year on a 50 percent smaller budget.