Your Community's Economic Development Message

The Role of Local Elected Officials in Economic Development: 10 Things You Should Know is part of the Center for Research and Innovation’s ongoing work to provide city leaders with the skills to become informed, strategic decision-makers in economic development. The “ten things” were derived from analysis of successful city programs and interviews with economic development professionals, elected leaders, academics and business organizations.

    Strong communications and a compelling message are vital to successful economic development and a primary responsibility for local elected officials.  An economic development message that is based on your community's collective vision and is conveyed by all key stakeholders will establish a consistent community "brand" and competitive identity to the outside world. 

    Local elected officials can use public speeches, interviews, and other communications to rally the community around their economic development message.  In addition to publicly promoting the message, local elected officials can work with their staff to ensure that all economic development partners have the information that they need to support the message or to accurately convey the message to others. This may be data about the economic role they play in the community, or marketing materials that they can use to engage others outside the community. These small steps go a long way in generating a positive reputation of your community. 

    Sometimes, cities let politics and minor disagreements about the direction of economic development affect their city's public image. This can detrimentally impact the confidence investors have in your community as a place to do business.  Developers, business owners and others want to be assured that their investment in your community will have broad support among local leaders, residents and key partners. If those who impact the success of a business or economic development project are not unified, the confidence of the investor will falter.  Local elected officials can help manage internal disputes and ensure that all stakeholders remain committed to the message and the vision it conveys.

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