Florida Brand Survey: Those who know us, love us

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Out-of-state business executives and citizens are more likely to move to Florida than any other state, according to a new survey from Sachs Media Group.

Presented by Sachs executives Michelle Ubben and Karen Cyphers Tuesday at the 2015 Future of Florida Forum, the Florida Brand Survey found there was a lot to like about the Sunshine State. The climate and proximity to family were the biggest draws and outsiders tend to like the state more after a visit, too.

Seven out of 10 non-Floridians have visited or lived in the state, and 29 percent say they would consider Florida their top pick if they had to move. Business executives polled similarly. Of the 78 percent who said they’ve been to Florida, 27 percent said it was their top pick if they had to relocate. Floridians like their state, too: 88 percent say it’s a great place to live and 66 percent said they plan to stay, while just 58 percent of outsiders said the same of their home state.

Two-thirds of those polled – and 71 percent of business execs – said the climate is Florida’s biggest plus, though it acts a double-edged sword, with 50 percent of respondents listing the heat, humidity and hurricane risk as reasons they wouldn’t make the move. Nature, namely bugs, alligators, snakes and swamps, was the top problem for another 7 percent.

Family and friends living in the state was the second highest draw. Among those listing Florida as their preferred landing spot, 57 percent said it would put them closer to loved ones.  Business executives also cited the state’s tax code and culture as plusses, with 43 percent listing them as assets.

The outlook wasn’t all positive, though, with education in particular getting bad marks. Only 4 percent of respondents – and no execs – listed it as a positive factor in moving. Crime and state regulations had a perception problem, too.

While 72 percent of Floridians said they felt safe in the state, 60 percent of those who have never visited said the state is “scary.” That measure falls to 45 percent among those who have set foot in Florida. Nearly a fifth of out-of-state executives said their biggest problem with Florida was too much government regulation, though only 4 percent of Florida execs feel the same way.

Presenters said the mismatched views between Floridians and outsiders create “amazing opportunities to tell the Florida story,” and suggested leveraging Florida executives as brand ambassadors and highlighting healthcare assets and educational successes as avenues for flipping some of the negative impressions in the polls findings.

The survey was conducted from Aug. 29 through Sept. 5, 2015, and had 1,448 respondents. All 50 states were represented in the survey, with 910 of those polled coming from other states. The survey has a +/- 4.2 percent margin of error.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.