The Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) honored the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development with the ‘Best of Class’ and ‘Best of Show’ awards at their 65th Annual Conference. Over 137 entries were submitted from economic development organizations representing the 17-state SEDC member region. In June, the Partnership submitted the marketing piece in the ‘Overall Marketing Campaign’ category. This category was geared towards a central marketing theme with diverse platforms including print, product and web. HCPED competed in the medium division, representing entities with a total organizational budget in the $200,000 to $500,000 range.
The campaign project that was submitted was focused on communicating to niche outdoor manufacturing companies that might complement the current and growing cluster of outdoor industry businesses in the region. The marketing effort included contacting targeted companies and sending a branded water bottle with attached coasters that provided concise messaging on the benefits of Henderson County as a location for outdoor manufacturing companies. The tangible element of the campaign was supported with the www.outdoordestination.org web site that was launched in April with the support of Pardee Hospital.
The quest to elevate awareness of Henderson County as a top destination for outdoor manufacturing on the East Coast continues. Many elements of the initial marketing effort, and ongoing campaign, have benefitted greatly from the help of existing outdoor industry companies. An Outdoor Roundtable advises the Partnership on messaging, companies to target, events where we should be visible, and the overall effort to build cohesion and common purpose in the outdoor industry brand of Western North Carolina. Based on feedback provided by the Roundtable, HCPED participated in the Outdoor Retailer Show and Rendezvous events hosted by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). Partnership staff has been able to meet with over 40 decision makers from some of the most recognized brands in the industry in the past few months alone.
HCPED continues to market the assets of the region, advocating for the outdoor industry companies that call us home, and looking for those that could complement the region through positive employment and investment impact. Receiving recognition from SEDC, and our peer economic development organizations, with the Best of Show award is a testament to the strategy to pursue outdoor manufacturing, and the value of the Outdoor Roundtable.