For decades, business leaders throughout south-western Connecticut worried that the investment climate was hampered by local pessimism about the region’s urban hub - Bridgeport. In 2014, City leaders, along with the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, launched a one-year economic development communications and marketing campaign to change that and boost confidence in the direction of the city from investors, residents, and others.
Prior to the campaign kicking off, businesses frequently complained to city officials and others about the investment climate, while a survey of municipal primary voters found that just 37 percent of likely voters polled believed the city and its economy were heading in the right direction.
In 2015, following the one-year campaign, several new businesses moved to Bridgeport, interest from businesses inquiring about moving to the city increased, and existing businesses raved about the confidence instilled by the marketing campaign. Additionally, a survey conducted at the end of the campaign found that over 52 percent of likely voters believed the city and its economy were heading in the right direction – an increase of 15 percent.
While the city of Bridgeport faced its own set of challenges unique to the region, their proactive communication plan can be viewed as a model for Portland as a way to tell the stories of success and progress being made throughout the municipality.
“The city’s investment in the ‘Better’ campaign has clearly paid dividends from an investment/development point of view.”
— Paul Timpanelli, former president & CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council