This is the second part of our investigation into Panama City’s marketing.

Part One is here.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Over the past four years Panama City’s leaders have turned to the national marketing firm kglobal to share their story.

The firm worked to get stories in the media about the town and created videos about Hurricane Michael, the 2020 census, and an affordable housing program.

Under that program — ReHouse Bay — the city partnered with Bay County to help homeowners fix storm damage and purchase otherwise unaffordable homes. The program also allows the governments to incentivize developers to build low-income apartments.

To get the word out about the program the city turned to kglobal. The firm received a total of $600,000 for its work, $426,000 from the city, and $174,000 from the county.

For this, they got a website, a ReHouseBay editorial placed on and written by City Manager Mark McQueen, and several videos.

However, you might also ask yourself why a project that helps residents who are already desperate for affordable housing needed much, if any, marketing. Bay County leaders seemed to have eventually come to that same conclusion.

They struck out on their own and spent a tenth of what Panama City did, about $65,000, to market the program.

Bay County’s marketing also seems to have been incredibly effective. The county quickly stopped advertising after all of the ReHouseBay funds were allocated.

Meanwhile, Panama City still has about $2 million left in ReHouseBay funding. City leaders tell us part of the problem was an internal issue with an employee. They also say the comparison between the city and county’s marketing efforts is not apples to apples. kglobal created the website that is still in use and they worked with another city vendor to get the program itself off the ground.

Regardless, the city is not done with kglobal.

A new contract will pay them almost $100,000 over a six-month period for an economic campaign to attract new businesses to the city.

“A lot of people are looking to relocate to Florida. Why not come to the Panhandle and specifically, Panama City? And if they don’t know that we’re out here, they won’t, they’ll just think Florida is the Peninsula. You know, Tampa, Orlando, Miami, right?” McQueen said. “But a lot of people have become awakened to the Panhandle and what better place than Bay County and Panama City for them to come and relocate to?”

McQueen said kglobal’s connections to the national media will make this plan a success.

“We’re just getting that word out to as far-reaching as we can,” he said. “And having those types of companies that can have that kind of access that helps to share our work, and what we’re doing to set the table for their eventual economic success, why would we not do that?”

For now, it is too early to know if this new contract will bring more key wins or any new businesses to the area.