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.

In 2018, 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 diver 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.

Areas of Service: Strategic communications, public relations, crisis communications, media relations, strategic planning, graphic design, and digital/social media.