Who are we marketing ourselves to and why?
We want people to visit as tourists and maybe settle down as new residents. We want business and industry to come and set up shop. People on the one hand and corporations on the other: those are two different target demographics and the messages we send out to them aren’t going to be the same.
This reflects the dual nature of towns, which contain people AND businesses. They need each other to survive and make it work. City Hall is our corporate identity; we the people make up the community. The city’s role, in this context, should be marketing our town to the corporate world. But should they be trying to do the same thing marketing to people? And when they try, will they do as well as with businesses?
I’ve watched city councils for a number of years now and my personal opinion is leaving that to City Hall isn’t the best way to go about it. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that. City Council takes their time about getting around to doing anything and when they eventually spend tax-payers’ money it is often with hired pens from out of town. And the results are often as not contentious. IF they spent that money with local non-professionals and people weren’t happy then they’d be lambasted for ‘wasting tax dollars’ by not employing Pros. I get that the city is risk averse.
The latest idea is to make a promotional video to showcase the town to the outside world. And to allocate $10,000 to get it done … Professionally. This didn’t get passed at the council meeting it was proposed in but they will consider it for next year.
Many people in the community agree that we should be marketing our town to the world so we can increase the visibility and interest and get more visitors and consequently the whole community will benefit.
I suggest we don’t wait for next year. I say why wait for our Corporate half, city hall, to spend our tax dollars to hire a Pro, likely from out of town, to create something that showcases us and our town. That may or may not show us the way we think we want to appear to People who don’t live here. I think people communicate with people better than corporate entities do.
As my alter-ego GFTV.CA I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is: $500 toward a contest to do just that. The GEM Theatre is on board with this – they are going to donate some cash and the use of their theatre and BIG SCREEN. And we’re challenging other community spirited people, businesses and organizations to chip in and help out with money and support.
We want to solicit local people to create audio/video content that can go into a larger montage video project to show off Grand Forks. The money raised would go into contest prizes and post production by locals. The final judging would be in September by the local community at the GEM theatre where the producers and everyone else can watch their creations of the BIG screen. Then, next year, the city can handle the corporate message the way they see fit.
IF you agree then Show Off your support to those of us who want to Show Off Grand Forks. We’re all in this together
– Les Johnson