Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Tampa Bay brand, regional obligations | Editorial

Organizations that rebrand themselves should have a regional mission that reflects the name.
The Howard Frankland Bridge, which connects St. Petersburg and Tampa, is a leading symbol of regional unity.
The Howard Frankland Bridge, which connects St. Petersburg and Tampa, is a leading symbol of regional unity.
Published Oct. 20

Political, business and civic leaders throughout Tampa Bay have spent years promoting collaboration and building a regional identity. That necessary progression from the unproductive petty parochialism didn’t happen overnight, and the benefits are undeniable. The successes range from a surge in business and tourism to greater regional understanding to a common mission in areas such as transportation, the environment and higher education. Tampa Bay is a brand, and with that regional brand comes an obligation to have a regional vision.

That’s why the name changes of organizations that traditionally have not had regional responsibilities raise concern. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce plans to change its name to the Tampa Bay Chamber, even though most of its members are in Hillsborough County. Similarly, the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation will become the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, even though it still will focus on Tampa and Hillsborough. It’s understandable that some folks in Pinellas and Pasco counties aren’t thrilled and wonder whether this is misleading advertising that could undermine regional cooperation and confuse businesses looking to relocate to the area.

In the best light, these re-branding exercises are confirmation of Tampa Bay’s rising profile on the national and international marketplaces. They are expressions of ambition by local business leaders and reflect the growing value of the Tampa Bay brand. The organizations involved say they are not big-footing similar organizations in other parts of the region but looking to maximize their roles as portals to Tampa Bay, even if they deal with only part of the overall market. And they argue that promoting even one locality benefits the bay area by creating greater regional mass.

But the Tampa Bay brand carries with it larger, regional responsibilities. Those most affiliated with the Tampa Bay name are recognized for the scope of their work and the impact they have on the entire region, whether that’s Port Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Partnership, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority or Tampa Bay Water. The Tampa Bay Times changed its name from the St. Petersburg Times in 2012 to reflect the regional audience and coverage area it began building decades earlier. The area’s professional sports franchises are regional draws, which explains the cross-county effort to keep the Tampa Bay Rays. And if its identity reflected its reach, Tampa International Airport would be named Tampa Bay International, a gateway closer to parts of Pinellas than to many Hillsborough suburbs.

It would be counter-productive for organizations that help companies navigate the local landscape to foster confusion in the marketplace — or to unintentionally rekindle outdated rivalries. The Tampa Bay brand carries a unique mission and certain expectations for those who embrace it. There is nothing that prevents civic and business groups in any corner of the region from contributing to the larger civic good. That contribution, after all, is what prompted a regional spirit across Tampa Bay that has delivered on a range of fronts. If they don’t have it already, organizations that call themselves “Tampa Bay’’ should quickly build a regional vision and mission that earns the broader name.

Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Times Chairman and CEO Paul Tash, Editor of Editorials Tim Nickens, and editorial writers Elizabeth Djinis, John Hill and Jim Verhulst. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. A medic with the United States Army's Task Force Shadow "Dust Off," Charlie Company 1-214 Aviation Regiment leads Marines as they carry an Afghan civilian wounded by insurgent gunfire on a stretcher to a waiting medevac helicopter in southern Helmand Province, Afghanistan in Jan. 2011. [KEVIN FRAYER  |  ASSOCIATED PRESS]
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  2. A package of Pampers Cruisers diapers. [JENNIFER KERR  |  AP]
    Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
  3. Jeremy Sutliff drags a freshly cut hop plant over to the harvesting machine at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    Researchers are trying to make a variety of hops suitable to Florida’s climate.
  4. This photo provided by Time magazine shows Greta Thunberg, who has been named Time’s youngest “person of the year” on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.   The media franchise said Wednesday on its website that Thunberg is being honored for work that transcends backgrounds and borders.  (Time via AP) [AP]
    Here’s what readers had to say in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
  5. A look at major newspapers' editorials on impeachment [Tampa Bay Times]
    A round-up of excerpts of editorials from across America.
  6. Election day at the Coliseum for St. Petersburg municipal elections. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Florida should make it easier, not harder, for voters in 2020, writes a new Florida State graduate.
  7. The manuscript of Florida's constitution from 1885. The current version was revised and ratified in 1968. [Florida Memory]
    The governor wants to give a civics test to high school students. He should aim higher and require one of state lawmakers.
  8. President Donald Trump speaks Thursday during the White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI  |  AP]
    The House has enough reason to justify the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
  9. House Judiciary Committee session during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, Pool) [JOSE LUIS MAGANA  |  AP]
    There is a reason Republicans continue to embrace debunked conspiracy theories over Ukraine and the 2016 election, writes a columnist.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement