Civic branding case study—PR’s role in the growth of municipalities

by | Jul 5, 2018 | Public Relations

More and more businesses are turning to public relations to tell their stories. Today, municipalities across the U.S. are practicing many of PR’s same promotional and image-building strategies to position their cities and towns and garner top-of-mind awareness.

This is particularly true in the state of South Carolina where tourism is a $20+ billion industry, and public relations is king. Tourism is the livelihood of one of 10 individuals employed in the state and is the lifeblood of the economy, especially in South Carolina’s coastal area.

Hosting over 16 million visitors annually, with numbers reported even higher by some authorities, the Grand Strand—a 60-mile stretch extending from Little River to Georgetown—is dependent upon tourism to generate valuable tax revenue for local schools, hospitals and housing, provide infrastructure for roads and bridges, and fund sports and performing arts facilities. Additionally, tourism helps preserve the area’s rich Southern culture and history, and protect the area’s natural resources.

Competition is keen as cities throughout the country are leveraging their funds and PR efforts to attract lucrative visitors who are sure to improve local economies.

The many functions of civic PR

“PR does more than attract tourists to a locale,” said Reba Campbell, deputy executive director of the Municipal Association of South Carolina and president of PRSA’s South Carolina Chapter. “It plays an important role in helping cities shape a favorable image of their community as a great place to live or a place to establish a business. It is an integral strategy that helps communities identify the appropriate target audience, messaging, medium, tactics, and more importantly, how the overall campaign should be measured and evaluated.”

Recently, Myrtle Beach was ranked by US News and World Report as 2018’s number one destination to which people are choosing to relocate. They cited the area’s favorable climate, available activities and the overall value as primary reasons for their selection.

“PR has always been considered as a major part of the promotional mix to shape an organization’s reputation. As for South Carolina’s municipalities, the need for public relations is inevitable,” Campbell concluded.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter