At the sold-out Hancock County Chamber of Commerce annual membership meeting on the Friday of Super Bowl weekend, a crowd of about 260 people at the Diamondhead Country Club received an insiders look at the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce playbook for the coming year, which includes marketing campaigns that will showcase Hancock County as a preferred location to live, visit and retire.
Clay Wagner of Hancock Bank, elected for a second consecutive term as chamber president, reiterated his 2013 message that tourism is everyones business and outlined chamber goals for 2014.
That focus will continue into this year, he said, along with other important issues, including extension of the countys 2 percent tourism tax, improving the national flood insurance policy to ensure continued residential and commercial development, implementing marketing strategies to help businesses grow and keeping our public officials informed about key issues that could affect local commerce.
Chamber executive director Tish Williams showed a 12-minute video that recapped 2013 accomplishments and then focused her 2014 message on three marketing initiatives for the coming year that will promote Hancock County as a great place to live as a working resident or retiree, to explore as a visitor or local resident, and to conduct business daily.
The Hancock My Home Life Just Got Better campaign is designed to promote Hancock County as a great place to call home.
When visitors come to play for a day, Williams said, well, they just might decide to make Hancock their home for a lifetime.
A website, brochures, social media efforts and online advertising with popular real estate websites will work to persuade newcomers to take a closer look at Hancock County when making their residential decisions.
This campaign will highlight the many positive attributes of living in Hancock County from our affordable cost of living to our high-performing schools, Williams said. In addition to showcasing our communities natural beauty, we made a concerted effort to feature testimonials from actual full-time residents and vacation home owners about what they love about living in Hancock County.
The Scenic Byways Your View Just Got Better campaign encourages both visitors and locals to travel throughout Hancock County and explore historic sites and notable places. Through a chamber legislative campaign, work is underway to obtain approval from the Mississippi Legislature to extend the Beach Boulevard Scenic Byway across the Coast to DeBuys Road in Harrison County. This is a combined effort with the city of Gulfport and Harrison County Board of Supervisors.
The third marketing initiative to help members promote Hancock County business is not new territory for the chamber staff, but the chamber has developed new avenues for members to market their businesses.
Hancock Chamber Your Business Just Got Better includes event sponsorships, new advertising opportunities tying into three chamber websites, email blast marketing, banner ads and enhanced listings in various directories.
Williams said all three campaigns feature new websites and marketing opportunities that will drive commerce to member businesses.
She stressed the importance of staying up to date with technology and said the chamber utilizes 21 social media platforms to assist in their efforts. In other news from the meeting, the chamber announced it would set up a new chamber kiosk at Diamondhead City Hall, and it will explore the possibility of purchasing the building that currently houses chamber offices at 111 Court Street in Bay St. Louis.
Myron Webb, retired public affairs director for Stennis Space Center was given a life-long honorary chamber membership and Cathy Wilson, of the Hancock County School District, was presented the Jody Compretta Person of Passion Award for her extensive work to promote and improve education in Hancock County.