Midland Development Corp.

The Situation

At Priority Midland’s February 2019 launch, the city of Midland, Texas, was growing faster than nearly any other city in the nation due to an ongoing energy-led economic expansion. That explosive growth was putting immense pressure on interconnected areas of critical need—education, housing, health + wellness, infrastructure and quality of place. Inaction threatened Midland’s quality of life as well as workforce and business retention and attraction efforts.

The Priority Midland initiative was created to bring together Midland-area taxing entities and other stakeholders into a collaborative forum to develop a strategic investment plan for the Texas town.

The Challenge

This was a crucial moment for the community’s leaders, stakeholders and citizens to unify and take bold steps to reach critical economic and social goals.

Priority Midland’s success long-term was dependent on two major achievements:

- Public entity, business and community leadership working in a unified manner, focused on the greater good of Midland.

- The larger community understanding the state of Midland, remaining optimistic about its future, and having confidence and trust in area leaders to be good stewards of resources (tax dollars) and usher Midland into a better future.

Marketing Communications Strategy + Implementation

When success is closely tied to broad community support and stakeholder participation, a focused strategic communications plan is non-negotiable.

M. Hensley Consulting was engaged to lead all communications strategies and tactics needed to bring Midlanders along on a potentially life-changing journey. The team, led by Melissa Hensley, developed an integrated communications campaign to raise awareness, keep all stakeholder groups engaged, and help break down siloes that had existed across the community for decades.

The team started by clearly defining each target audience—Midland-area citizens, public entity leadership, potential funders, area business leaders, and workforce and business leaders outside Midland—and creating laser-focused communications objectives for each.

Next, we developed a message platform tied directly to the objectives, communicating the narrative that Priority Midland was more than just a moment in time. This was a movement requiring the same courage and audacity of the wildcatters who believed they could create an oasis in the middle of the west Texas desert so many lifetimes ago.

This foundation was then leveraged across media relations, social media, digital communications, community events and meetings, and a word-of-mouth campaign to create an engaging feedback loop that both motivated and created avenues for all stakeholder groups to help shape their community’s future.

Results

Priority Midland came to be known and recognized as a forum of community members at all levels working toward collective goals that would transform the city.

By the end of its inaugural year, Priority Midland ushered in significantly improved collaboration across taxing entity leadership, a marked reduction in siloed efforts, and increasing optimism among Midlanders about their city’s future as a world-class city for business and talent.

Through considerable social media engagement, strong media coverage, and a growing word-of-mouth campaign, Priority Midland was becoming part of the lexicon around a positive future for the city.

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