Nothing Ho-Hum About This Annual Report

Tania Kohut on Monday, January 30, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

Tired of the same old annual report format? Consider this idea from the Saratoga County (NY) Chamber of Commerce. This month they released their 2011 annual report video. It is the first time the chamber produced a video version of their annual report, and it replaces the traditional printed piece. Check it out below.

Produced by Modern Mix Marketing.

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Turning Tourists into Residents in S.C.

Tania Kohut on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 9:30:00 am 

Ever go on a vacation and wish you could stay forever? Well, South Carolina's Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce would love to have you make that dream come true—in Myrtle Beach. Starting this spring, the chamber will also aggressively market the area as a good place to live. In a recent article about the chamber's real estate marketing campaign, Diana Greene, the chamber's executive vice president of membership programs and services, said, "When we started looking at what we've been able to do on the visitors side, we thought what can we do in this community to assist on the real estate side, because obviously, it's been hit really hard and we just want to do everything we can to help."

The campaign, which has been in development for over a year, will go beyond just providing relocation information. It includes all the marketing big guns—a new website, TV commercials and printed material—to push the idea of buying property in the area. The campaign will stress things like the area's low cost of living and low taxes, but also softer factors that don't often show up in marketing brochures: the friendliness of the people, volunteer activities, cultural opportunities, and the ease of opening a small business.

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Fargo Moorhead West Fargo:
Chamber of the Year in Minnesota

Brad Holt on Friday, January 20, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce has been named Outstanding Chamber of the Year by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Executives (MCCE). The award recognizes excellence in local Minnesota chambers and is based on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce accreditation process for local chambers, focusing on accomplishments in leadership/governance, finance, advocacy and membership development. Judges commended the chamber on its work in Minnesota, including its advocacy on trnasportation issues and local government aid programs. With more than 2,000 members, the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber is the largest local chamber in North Dakota and Minnesota.

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The Road to Sustainable Growth

Chaaron Pearson on Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

R. Marc Jordan, president and CEO of the North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce wrote an excellent op-ed for The Sun News as a part of a weekly roundup of local issues and viewpoints for the area’s business leaders.  Jordan, a graduate of ACCE’s Ford Fellowship, makes the case for spurring regional, sustainable development. The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce has a vision supporting a shared regional narrative, consensus building, innovation and change leadership resulting in sustainable growth and prosperity for everyone. Read the full article: The road to sustainable growth

Yesterday, it was announced that two new wind turbines would be erected on the oceanfront at North Myrtle Beach. These were purchased using a state energy grant awarded to the chamber. The chamber’s partnership includes the city, their utility, Coastal Carolina University, Clemson University and Orangeburg Technical College. Watch the news broadcast for full announcement: NMB propels wind energy plans

Tags: regional alignment, regionalism, sustainable growth

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Critical Census Findings

Ian Scott on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 3:00:00 pm 

No other trend in public policy, technology or industry will have as much impact on economic prosperity of your region over the coming decade as demographics.

Analysis of the 2010 Census done for Brookings’ State of Metropolitan America report shows that the country is growing slower, growing older, and becoming more diverse every year. Those trends may not surprise you, but the report also finds that we’re less mobile and that the median household is also less rich.

While some of the census findings may be exaggerated by the economic downturn, all of these demographic trends are interconnected. Understanding the connections and developing strategies to adapt to an older, more diverse population and workforce will likely widen the divide between prosperous regions and struggling ones over the coming years.

For a quick and dirty digest of key census findings, check out  Five Things the Census Revealed About America in 2011 from the Brookings Intuition.

For a deeper dive into this topic, check out the ACCE webinar “Baby Boomer Economy” featuring Ellen Cutter from Market Street Services.

Tags: growth, population, workforce, census, demographics, diversity, equity

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Paying for Infrastructure with the Gas Tax

Chaaron Pearson on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

How do you pay for infrastructure? Three states are looking at their gas tax.

Iowa lawmakers say gas tax increase is a 50-50 issue

Iowa’s senate majority leader says a substantial number of republicans and democrats in the state senate support investing in the state’s infrastructure. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad’s Transportation 2020 Citizen Advisory Commission recommended raising registration fees for new vehicles by one percent, establishing a new user fee for hybrid vehicles and a phased gas tax increase equivalent to a 10-cent hike. Read more: Sioux City Journal

The extra mile: Maryland gas tax could increase

Maryland’s legislative session begins Wednesday, and a proposed hike to the gas tax will be a big issue. Watch the video for more details, including how money from the tax would be used: WUSA9

Minnesota tax cut on autopilot

On July 1, Minnesota’s highway fuel tax will go up a half-penny per gallon. Unless there is legislative action, it won’t go up again—ever. While some may cheer, others are considering what that may mean for the safety, comfort, efficiency and even the cost of driving in the long run. Read more: editorial from Minnesota 2020

Tags: Gas tax, Infrastructure, taxes

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Merger…Or the Opposite

Ian Scott on Monday, January 9, 2012 at 2:00:00 pm 

Frequent ACCE blog readers may recall several posts from me last fall noting multiple examples of chamber and economic development entities merging forces. (For reference see HERE and HERE) In those posts I did everything but proclaim a national trend of chambers and economic development entities merging. There is a flip side to every coin.

Last week the Bradenton Herald reported that the Manatee Economic Development Corp. is no longer under the Manatee Chamber of Commerce umbrella and has become its own separate entity.  While it will have a new separate board and its own separate budget, the EDC will still be located in the chamber’s building, and the two organizations will still cooperate closely. 

Read more here.

Tags: Economic Development, mergers, organizational structure

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Regrouping and Refocusing in Nevada

Ian Scott on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 3:35:00 pm 

In November, the Brookings Institution released an intriguing economic development report for Nevada titled Unify, Regionalize, Diversify.

The study highlights Nevada’s economic challenges, chiefly that it has been over-dependent on consumption sectors like tourism and home construction. But it also notes that Nevada’s key asset is an “overall business-friendly environment, including low taxes, relatively low costs, light regulation, and ease of business start-up/permitting.” I believe this is a testament to the ongoing public policy work of the Las Vegas Chamber.  

After performing a full SWOT analysis and examining strong potential growth sectors, the study’s authors identify three primary recommendations to boost growth and economic innovation in Nevada:

  • Unify:  Install an operating state-wide system for 21st century economic development
  • Regionalize:  Support smart sector strategies in the regions
  • Diversify:  Set a platform for higher-value growth through innovation and global engagement

Sounds easy, right?

Digging deeper into the report, Kristin McMillan and the Las Vegas Chamber are already tackling many of the workforce and infrastructure challenges outlined in the report. They also plan to help feed the regionalized “bottoms up” approach recommended for a reworked economic development structure.  

Brookings has done similar business plans for the Puget Sound, Northeast Ohio and the Twin Cities.  If you’re not familiar with this work you should take a look.

Tags: regionalism, Strategic Planning, business attraction, Economic Development, Las Vegas, Nevada

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Republicans Seriously Trailing Democrats IN Social Media Marketing

Chaaron Pearson on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

An interesting look at the Presidential candiates' social media presence from Overdrive Interactive.

(Boston, MA- January 4, 2011) Online and social media marketing agency Overdrive Interactive released a new infographic entitled, "Election 2012 Social Media Rankings." This infographic is a visualization of the 2012 presidential candidates’ social media rankings based on their cumulative Facebook likes and Twitter followers. The visual shows how many friends each candidate has amassed on the most important social networks: Facebook and Twitter.

The infographic is available for viewing, download, sharing and republishing at:

The ranking, and visualization of the data, shows a clear social media disparity between the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, and all the republican candidates.  The graphic shows how far the GOP must go to catch up with the social media marketing potential of the Democrats. President Obama has many social connections from his last campaign and has continued to build his social connections throughout his presidency. His current Facebook and Twitter friend counts exceed 36,072,492. This total is 22 times greater than the nearest GOP contender Newt Gingrich who has 1,611,128 and is 7 times greater than all the social connections of the republicans combined. (Statement is from data on 1/3/2012 at 3:40 PM.)

Overdrive Interactive’s CEO, Harry J. Gold says, “The sheer scale of the President Obama’s social media marketing platform is huge and could benefit the Democrats for years to come even after the elections and his presidency.” Gold added, “The media equivalent value of this kind of social presence and communications platform is certainly in the tens of millions of dollars and in most cases cannot even be bought – it has to be earned.”

The data was compiled though Overdrive Interactive’s social media tracking site, the Overdrive50, and its Election 2012 section. While still in beta, the site shows nearly real time and accurate listing of companies, organizations and people ranked by how many likes and followers they have amassed on Facebook and Twitter. Candidates featured in the Election 2012 section include Barak Obama, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Gary Johnson, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Buddy Roemer.

While Obama was at one time one of the most popular people on Facebook sitting at the top of the Overdrive50, he currently sits in position 15 of the behind the star and brand power of celebrities and entities that include Lady Gaga, Facebook, YouTube, Rihanna, Eminem, Justin Beiber and Coca Cola.

Overdrive is allowing Bloggers, publications and all media outlets to publish and broadcast the infographic image as long as it is not modified and when shown online, a link is given to the distribution page located at . The infographic will be provided in a variety of formats and sizes.

Overdrive Interactive is a full-service online marketing agency that brings together  social media marketing, paid search engine marketing, organic search engine optimization, online media planning and buying, online creative and web and application development to provide its corporate clients with fully integrated digital marketing programs that drive measurable results and ROI. For more information, please visit

Tags: 2012 Presidential Election, Democrats, Presidential Candidates, Republicans, Social Media

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What's In a Name?
(A lot)

Brad Holt on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 12:00:00 am 

The Palm Beach Post reports that a planned merger of two chambers of commerce in Palm Beach County, Florida's largest and richest per capita, is pretty much wrapped up except for choosing a new name for the merged entity. What that name will be is of some concern to several other chambers in the county.

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