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Annual Meeting to Explore Community Development

Once the creator of a digital marketing agency, Andrew Davis now teaches business communities how to grow and transform their hometowns. Davis is the author of Town, Inc., a book that delves into the issues of how communities market themselves. 

Andrew Davis will speak on July 23 during the Annual Meeting.

Davis will address the concepts of community promotion in his keynote address during the Municipal Association of SC Annual Meeting, taking place July 22 – 24 on Hilton Head Island. 

The ideas presented in Town, Inc. emerged from Davis visiting dozens of cities and towns, leading him to the conclusion that the communities enjoying the most development are the ones that understand what makes them uniquely attractive to the people and businesses who locate within them. When these places understand their assets, make the best possible use of online communication, and connect with the passions of a niche group of people, they can succeed even when they are not widely known. 

Taking a look at how companies feel about their locations, Davis said that most company websites do not discuss why they are located where they are. His research, however, has shown that the communities that are the most successful in expanding their economies are the ones where a large number of local businesses use the “About Us” page of their website to describe why they chose to locate in that city. 

“If you can get people to market the town for you, it attracts the innovators and the dreamers, and those are people that you really need to keep an economy going,” he said. 

Other 2021 Annual Meeting sessions 
The Annual Meeting’s speakers and panel sessions will delve into numerous topics critical to cities and towns. Here are some of the agenda items:

  • Hope Inspires Action: Leading Positive Community Change – Dr. Dave Ivan, a Michigan State University researcher who studies community change, will speak on using the concept of hope when developing a vision for positive community change. 
  • Don’t Become a Headline: How to Comply With the State Ethics Act – Learn about the annual reporting requirements of the SC Ethics Commission. 
  • Building Trust Through Open Communication – Before cities face crises, they need to have a plan for who will speak to the media and how they will develop a message. An effective communication plan is necessary during and after a crisis to help reduce liability, protect residents and maintain public trust.
  • Update on Legislative Session and Business Licensing – Association staff will discuss the action from the General Assembly’s 2021 legislative session, as well as the business license standardization work that cities and towns must complete before January 1, 2022, to comply with Act 176. 
  • Attracting the Remote Workforce Post-Pandemic – The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that employees can work effectively without coming into the office. This session will discuss strategies for making a city appealing for high-earning remote workers. 
  • American Rescue Plan: ARP From A to Z – Learn about the eligible uses of American Recovery Plan funds, and how cities need to plan projects with the greatest impact. 
  • Broadband Is No Longer a Luxury – It’s a Necessity – Broadband access has become a critical service for businesses and residents alike. This session will address South Carolina’s plan to expand broadband into underserved areas, and how municipalities like the City of Newberry are working to make affordable high-speed broadband services available. 
  • Between the Lines: Redistricting and Your Budget – Learn about how delays in the 2020 Census data may affect municipal elections, and what cities and towns can plan for redistricting. 
Find more details and agenda information about the Annual Meeting online. All hotel reservations must be complete by June 18 and all registrations must be complete by July 12.