(St. Joseph News-Press (MO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 23--The St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce had a big year in 2013.
A familiar face returned to the local organization when Patt Lilly was selected as president and chief executive officer. He left the post in 2006 to take a position at Triumph Foods, where he served as chief administrative officer.
The Texas native also had served as St. Joseph city manager prior to his first stint as the chamber's leader. He said he returned to the chamber in order to make a difference in his community.
Mr. Lilly said the chamber's primary role will be to provide the leadership and resources necessary to create jobs in the community.
"The truth is, we've got a lot of work to do at the chamber," he said. "We need to look at new ways of doing things and improve our focus."
The first order of business was to begin marketing itself to Kansas City.
The chamber retained Trozzolo Communications Group of Kansas City to lead initiatives including brand development, an associated message and a marketing plan.
"We're going to be aggressive in what we do in Kansas City and be a part of the game," Mr. Lilly said. "It just requires some effort."
The purpose of the marketing campaign is to raise awareness of St. Joseph in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Mr. Lilly said he hopes Trozzolo can put forward a message that the two cities are close and that St. Joseph is home to many successful world-class businesses.
Both the city of St. Joseph and Buchanan County contributed to funding the project.
Misconceptions are the biggest challenge for the chamber and St. Joseph. The organization tasked Trozzolo with discovering what Kansas City residents think of St. Joseph.
"If they've heard of St. Joe, they have misconceptions," Mr. Lilly said. "And often times they don't reflect St. Joseph at all. I think we get lumped in when it's convenient and left out when it's convenient."
St. Joseph's accessibility by land, water and highway could give it the economic development boost it needs.
And to better identify the organization as a representative of the business community, the chamber changed its name in December. It is now called the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce.
This is the second name change in recent years. In 2011, the chamber took on the St. Joseph Metro Chamber tag. Before that, it called itself the St. Joseph Area Chamber of Commerce.
"The new name better describes that our focus is on the St. Joseph community," Mr. Lilly said.
The chamber also announced its new brand for the economic development arm of its organization.
The St. Joseph Economic Development Partnership is a division that focuses on marketing in the Kansas City area, particularly in 2014.
The entity's marketing push for economic development is not necessarily the chamber, however, everyone is on the same team, working together.
Brad Lau is the vice president of economic development for the partnership.
Jennifer Hall can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHall.
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