CORBIN, KY – Southern Kentucky Economic Development Agency (SKEDA) officials improved their messaging this year when they went through a rebranding session and updated current websites to serve the region better.
(SKEDA) is debuting its new website, branding, and marketing materials this fall, thanks to funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the collaborative efforts of Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation (SKED).
Executive Director Bruce Carpenter wanted to update and improve the current website, better blend and improve the multifaceted organization’s message, amplify its work serving its existing clients, and increase its job recruitment efforts.
Following a region-wide Request for Proposals effort, the Marketing Team at The Center for Rural Development was selected to lead the Southern Kentucky EDA’s project. After an initial branding session and months of web design, logo, and marketing material creation, SKEDA’s new marketing materials and website were revealed this month.
Carpenter said the project has been a real benefit to the organization.
“I would like to thank SKED and Executive Director Brett Traver for facilitating this ARC Grant. With this grant, our office, the Southern Kentucky Economic Development Agency, and the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce can present an updated and cohesive branding image of our economic development efforts, our community, our region, and our Chamber of Commerce,” Carpenter said. “We are grateful to ARC and SKED for the invitation to participate in this grant program and cannot wait to unveil the final product.”
SKED was awarded the funds in late 2020 to work with four economic development organizations within the non-profit economic development organization’s service territory and the ARC region. The grant was designed to complete branding, website development, and collateral material for each organization.
The four organizations are the Southern Kentucky Economic Development Agency, The Rockcastle County Industrial Development Authority, The Morehead-Rowan County Economic Development Council, and The Ashland Alliance/East Park Industrial Development Center. These economic development organizations have made significant investments in economic development resources such as industrial parks and buildings through the years. However, the funding for the brand, website, and collateral development was not readily available.
All four organizations debuted their updated websites this fall.
ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin said this funding gave each community the resources needed to compete with other larger communities across the region.
“We at ARC are dedicated to ensuring that our partners have the tools needed to fulfill their roles as critical partners in boosting the economic vitality of the communities they serve,” Manchin said. “This initiative will not only enhance the organizations’ communications with other colleagues but will aid in the long-term revitalization of these growing Eastern Kentucky communities.”
Kentucky DLG Commissioner Dennis Keene said the project is an excellent opportunity to improve economic growth in the region.
“For us to continue to move Eastern Kentucky forward, we must think outside the box and work collaboratively in our efforts,” Keene said. “This grant is the foundation of the efforts of the Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation to move the region forward. By thinking regionally, we have a greater opportunity to bring prosperity and economic growth to the area. I want to thank the Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation for their continued support in the region, and I look forward to continue working with them and seeing the new opportunities that come from this collaboration.”
Fifth District Representative Harold “Hal” Rogers calls the project another positive step forward in attracting and encouraging growth in the region.
“With more access to broadband than ever before and efforts to expand fiber even further, Southern and Eastern Kentucky is ready for new high tech businesses and growing our e-commerce. These new websites will help define availability in our industrial parks, incentives for businesses and areas that are shovel-ready for growth and expansion,” said Congressman Rogers, who launched SKED in 1986. “We have the best workforce in the country, and now employers can easily find the vast resources that we have available for new industries in our beautiful region.”
SKED Executive Director Brett Traver says small, regional economic development organizations simply do not always have the funding to sell themselves and compete on a bigger stage. The goal of this funding is to give them an extra edge.
“All of these economic development organizations have made significant investments in economic development resources such as industrial parks and buildings through the years,” he explained. “However, the funding for branding, website, and collateral development has not been available. DLG and ARC recognized that and provided funding to make it happen. At the end of the project, the organizations have a design that amplifies their reach and a messaging strategy that drives action.”
To learn more about how SKED helps Southern and Eastern Kentucky businesses and communities do business better, check out other success stories at www.skedcorp.com.