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Surveys Seek Input On Area Branding, Economic Development

By J. Elias O'Neal, posted Nov 15, 2013

Two separate surveys launched recently are seeking public input in the hopes of bridging economic development strategies in Wilmington and New Hanover County and finding a cohesive regional brand.

University of North Carolina Wilmington officials on Friday announced a public survey as part of a university-lead initiative to create a brand for the region.

Residents of New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties are encouraged to participate in the short survey before Nov. 26, according to a news release. Click here for the survey.

The survey is being coordinated by the Office of Community Partnerships and faculty from the marketing department at UNCW’s Cameron School of Business, where business school students will participate in data coding and analysis, the release stated.

Wilmington and New Hanover County officials last week also launched another online survey to gather public opinion about the area’s business climate and what direction economic development should take in the city and county, according to a news release.

New Hanover County will pay Atlanta-based Garner Economics LLC $92,500 for its work, which includes compiling information from the survey. The funds will come from the county’s current-year economic development budget of $323,000.

No money from the city was allocated to the economic development initiative.

Residents and business officials have until 5 p.m. Monday to access and participate in the survey, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Garner officials hope to draft a final report on economic development and potential strategies for the city and county by mid-February 2014.

Results from the UNCW-led branding survey will be presented to a Brand Identity Leadership Team (BILT) in January, a news release stated.

“Wilmington has become one of the most talked-about cities; therefore it is more than imperative that we solidify our true identity and our brand: a unified brand that we can market to the masses, whether it be for entertainment, business or just maintaining our image with our own household name,” BILT chairman Alfred White said in the release.

BILT members are:
- Tim Markley, New Hanover County Schools superintendent
- Rhonda Bellamy, Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County executive director
- Shawn Braden, Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau executive vice president of marketing
- John Elliott, Progress Energy
- Margaret Robison, Cape Fear Community College
- Johnny Griffin, N.C. Film Commission
- Dana Fisher, North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce
- Mary Margaret Vann, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce
- Greg Reynolds, Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce
- Tim Owens, Town of Wrightsville Beach
- Billy King, Wilmington Business Development
- Nancy Lance, Castle Branch
- Ned Glascock, PPD
- Valita Quattlebaum, New Hanover County Schools spokeswoman 
- Cedric Dickerson, State Farm Insurance
- Alfred White, Wells Fargo
- Kristen Shaheen, Opinion Lab
- Faisal Bhatti, GE Hitachi
- Scott Whisnant, New Hanover Regional Medical Center
- Ed Wolverton, Wilmington Downtown Inc. CEO 
- Roger Johnson, City of Wilmington
- Beth Schrader, New Hanover County
- Jenni Harris, UNCW assistant to the chancellor for community partnerships

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