Port Tampa Bay

Client: Port Tampa Bay
Industry: Economic Development/Government


Port Tampa Bay has grown various business lines, and the executive leadership and PR team needed unbiased strategic guidance and support to execute proactive public relations and the implementation of a crisis communications plan.


HCP Associates designed, implemented, and maintains a crisis communications plan and a PR strategy to drive proactive newsworthy stories on traditional and digital platforms, focusing on “humanizing” the hundreds of products and services the Port is responsible for delivering to people all over the country.

The President/CEO and Commissioners of Port Tampa Bay approved a three-year agreement with HCP Associates, Inc. for strategic communications after an extremely competitive RFP process. Additionally, PTB and the commissioners voted unanimously to extend HCP Associates for an additional fourth year due to the global pandemic and the expertise utilized during these challenging times. 

Before HCP Associates involvement and despite steady growth reports for the past five years, PTB had modest brand awareness with traditional/digital media outlets (global/national/regional) and numerous vertical market industry associations. Their social media channels were not fully developed and had little to no followers, and the overall sentiment from the public was misunderstood. 

HCP Associates immediately began working with the incoming Director of Public Relations and created a triage-based crisis communications plan that was approved and implemented. Next, HCP Associates focused on creating and disseminating proactive and newsworthy stories, emphasizing positive media relations at state and local levels with a new positioning statement for the brand that “HUMANIZED” all PTB’s people, services, and the product delivery chain to both businesses and consumers, worldwide. HCP Associates also worked with Port communications to revamp all social media channels with an organized and consistent schedule of proactive press releases and newsworthy announcements and events. 

One of the more recent significant milestones at Port Tampa Bay was in 2019 when a major container shipping company, CMA CGM, announced its partnership with the Port. France-based leadership, Port management, Port customers, local officials, and business leaders gathered at the terminal to celebrate the inaugural call of the CMA CGM DALILA. This ship was the largest container ship ever to pass under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in the history of Port Tampa Bay. 

HCP Associates handled all public relations, media relations, and proactive social media for the event, including a massive digital display of the ship’s monumental voyage under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge for 24 hours in Times Square on the PR Newswire Jumbotron. 

Since the beginning of HCP Associates relationship with the PTB, the public’s understanding of the Port’s products and services has changed. The Port has truly engaged the “HUMANIZATION” mantra. By providing a complete understanding of all the intricacies of running a large port, the local community has a greater sense of the necessary services that affect millions of peoples’ daily lives. Positive and engaging stories, shared daily, have also established a rejuvenated media relations connection, with greater brand equity that lives up to the title of “Florida’s largest and most diverse Port”. Social media posts have increased followers by 185 percent. Additionally, the news of the CMA CGM container ships was picked up in 126 news sources with a potential audience of 86,533,485. 


HCP Associates is serving a second three-year term as Port Tampa Bay’s strategic communications agency of record. These are some of the highlights of success: 


  • We moderated strategic planning sessions to triage objectives with senior leadership 
  • We agenda set a vision to “Humanize” Port Tampa Bay through multimedia storytelling to build an understanding of all publics and increase media relations   
  • Guided and executed corporate policy change with senior leadership/legal/HR 
  • Created and disseminated an action plan to monitor and manage social media platforms 
  • Created the first Crisis Communications Plan for new leadership  
  • Handled event planning, budget, agenda, media relations, press conference for largest container ship in history traveling from Asia under Sunshine Skyway Bridge 
  • Handled dozens of press conferences with federal, state, and local officials on Port premise 
  • Planned and executed one of the region’s first press conferences to educate publics about COVID-19 and the Port’s immediate act to sanitize, clean, and protect 
  • Created relationship with the digital media/multimedia video production department at HCC to utilize students to create short-form video social media video content emphasizing the Port’s diversity in products and services  
  • Continuously work with environmental and assist with redfish release events with Duke Energy and collaborate with The Florida Aquarium and the Audubon Society for continued stewardship  
  • Created and implemented the Port’s first annual Veteran Appreciation Luncheon with Tamp Bay Buccaneers, MacDill AFB, CENTCOM/SOCOM, TBDA, and dozens of retired and active military personnel.  
  • Implemented and delivered the Port’s first media audit to review paid, earned, and owned media