I have seen firsthand the long-term positive impacts unified branding can have on a community
By Brett Esrock, Sr. VP, CEO Hospital Division, Health First
Brett Esrock chairs the EDC of Florida’s Space Coast and the Space Coast Office of Tourism community branding initiative—Mission Space Coast: One Voice-One Brand.
I remember it like it was yesterday, settled around a conference table in Waco, Texas, with fellow community leaders to discuss how we could leverage, Prosper Waco, a community impact initiative, to transform Waco’s economic future. The meeting and the work thereafter was a thoughtful and deliberate approach to transforming this now prospering city.
Fast forward five years, and add in a new location—Brevard County, where I was approached by Lynda Weatherman, President & CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, with an idea to support a similar collective community branding initiative, Mission Space Coast, I didn’t need much coaxing to get involved.
I have seen firsthand the long-term positive impacts unified branding can have on a community. Working with stakeholders at various levels to clearly define a community brand takes diligence and substantial community involvement. While enthusiastic, I haven’t forgotten the work involved with such an undertaking.
The goal of Mission Space Coast is to capture the essence of the Space Coast, which can only be accomplished through collaboration among its constituents. What are the sights and sounds, environment and business, people and places that make the Space Coast a unique place to live and work? A unified community brand is an intentional effort that will increase tourism, business development and retention, and talent acquisition resulting in a community that thrives and weathers the inevitable storms.
How do we do this? To successfully define Florida’s Space Coast, a community that means so much to all of us, it will take community support from a variety of organizations, both private and public.
We’ve seen it time and time again through campaigns such as “I Love New York” and “Virginia is for Lovers” or, most recently, Orlando’s communities branding campaign, “Unbelievably Real,” a collaboration between Visit Orlando, The official tourism association for Orlando, and Orlando Economic Partnership, the economic and community development organization for the region.
Over the next several months, there will be three primary paths for the community to get involved with Mission Space Coast; community of choice conversations, focus groups, or a survey.
■ Community of choice conversations: Interactive discussions with industry organizations and stakeholders. Data from the community of choice conversations will inform the focus groups.
■ Focus groups: Multiple focus groups will be held amongst community leaders, residents, and employees gauging their perceptions of the Space Coast as a place to live, work, and play.
■ Survey: Broad public survey throughout the Space Coast.
The bottom line is we want to hear from you on what makes the Space Coast unique. Let’s define our community before someone else does. Let’s create a successful community branding campaign that is reflective of our home, the one and only Florida’s Space Coast. Get involved with Mission Space Coast by emailing MissionSpaceCoast@SpacecoastEDC.org.
To keep up with the Mission Space Coast, follow the EDC on social media, or stay tuned for more on SpaceCoastEDC.org
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brett Esrock is the Sr. VP, CEO Hospital Division, Health First. He is responsible for implementing strategy and business development initiatives, overseeing revenue planning, growth and physician relations for the Health First Hospitals (Cape Canaveral Hospital, Holmes Regional Medical Center, Palm Bay Hospital, Viera Hospital). Esrock also works with Health First’s operational team to ensure the highest quality care and safety are provided for patient experiences and outcomes. He comes to Health First from Providence Healthcare Network — a part of Ascension Health — in Waco, Texas, where he most recently served as Health System President and CEO. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Providence.
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