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Here We Grow is Here 

By Scott Mooneyham, NCLM Director of Public Affairs

The League officially kicked off its Here We Grow promotional campaign in October, an effort intended to highlight municipal investments around the state that are leading to job growth and promoting economic development.

The campaign is based on the concept that North Carolina’s economic strength is rooted in the diversity of its cities and towns – a diversity that’s the direct result of allowing residents to pursue their own unique visions and allowing municipalities to make investments that prompt economic development. The League initiated the campaign because of a belief that it is crucial for cities and towns to convey the story of the importance of these investments in order to preserve local decision-making authority.

Harris Vaughan, whose public relations consulting firm Eckel & Vaughan helped the League develop the campaign, told those attending the NCLM annual conference, CityVision 2016 Accelerate!, that cities and towns have great stories to tell because they "start from a good place."

Vaughan cited the poll commissioned by the League late last year which showed North Carolinians expressing confidence in municipal government and a willingness to see municipal officials lead efforts to promote small business growth and economic development. That same poll also showed large levels of satisfaction with local efforts that provide amenities and promote a good quality of life for residents.

Nonetheless, Vaughan said it is not unusual for his clients to believe that they are broadly promoting a message, only to be shown that they are speaking in an echo chamber, with only a small segment of the intended audience receiving it.

"That’s why you have to tell your story, and tell it effectively," he said.

As a major part of the effort, the League has launched the Here We Grow website, at www.herewegrownc.org, to help provide tools to each municipality, individually, to tell about that story, and to collectively tell the story of how cities and towns all across North Carolina are working hand-in-hand with the private sector to build the state’s economic foundation.

The Here We Grow website was created as a crowdsourcing site. League members can get a login, post a story and photo of their latest economic success, and then let the larger world know about it through the social media tools on the site.

Besides the story-telling components of the site, a site toolkit will allow League members to download a customizable PowerPoint presentation that both promotes the campaign and highlights your city or town’s efforts and download a flyer that can be tailored around a city or town’s investments and economic successes.

There will be more tools to come in the future.

All of this was designed to make it easy for League members to use and to bring public attention to their efforts. We’ve also developed a detailed how-to guide to answer any questions. And we’ll continue to make more information available about the campaign and how to get involved in coming weeks.

We need and want your involvement so that you can be part of the story. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Scott Mooneyham or Ben Brown on the NCLM staff.