The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Sarasota County is a public-private organization that works to diversify and strengthen the economy of Sarasota County. It is one of over 65 economic development organizations (EDOs) in Florida that work in partnership with Enterprise Florida.
Since being founded in 2004 the EDC saw continuous transition, with taxpayer and private support ebbing and flowing based on a complex combination of economic forces, local and global politics, and internal leadership. After undergoing several changes in leadership, in August of 2021 the EDC’s board appointed a new leader in Lisa Krouse. Recognizing the importance of communication to the organization’s long-term stability and viability, she hired Knight Strategic Communications to help the EDC articulate its value to the community, regain positive mindshare among multiple stakeholder groups, and position itself as the primary subject matter expert on local economic issues.
KSC began with creating a communications playbook to guide the EDC’s staff, board of directors, investors, and partners in articulating its value proposition consistently to the community. We then mined for opportunities to increase exposure and understanding of the EDC through owned and earned media, and to communicate its successes to key audiences within government and private business.
Positive media exposure escalated rapidly, beginning with the announcement of Krouse’s appointment as CEO. Additional stories followed on the EDC’s activity and successes in bolstering the local economy (see links below). Krouse and Vice President Erin Silk became go-to subject matter experts for reporters from major dailies, business publications, and broadcast news, resulting in high profile interviews on topics ranging from labor shortages to housing affordability.
KSC was subsequently engaged by Visit Sarasota County on a VSC-EDC partnership project to promote the region to working aged adults in an effort to alleviate the local labor shortage. The campaign announcement resulted in coverage throughout the Tampa Bay media market.
Sarasota Launches “Work Where You Want to Live Campaign” (10 Tampa Bay News)
25 People to Watch in 2022: Lisa Krouse (Tampa Bay Business Journal)
Consumer Spending Remains Strong in Sarasota and Manatee Despite COVID-19 Pandemic (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
What I Learned in My First Days as CEO of Sarasota County EDC (Tampa Bay Business Journal)
EDC, Amid Restructuring, Dramatically Grows Board (Business Observer)
Krouse’s FCCI Leadership Informs EDC Leadership (SRQ Magazine)