among Brooks recommendations
to lead branding effort in Madison
(July 2008) Roger Brooks, the highly acclaimed
tourism consultant from Seattle, has been hired by the City of Madison
for $50,000 to develop and implement a branding campaign. The initiative
is designed to keep Madison current with national trends in tourism.
by April Wilson
of Madison street crew workers
(from left) Richard Jester and Johnny
Johnson remove bricks to install
trees along Main Street as part
of the beautification effort.
The project includes flowers,
hanging baskets and benches.
A marketing component of Brooks proposal was not
included because it would have cost another $25,000, city officials
said. Instead, Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong hopes to generate enough
money to implement the marketing component using someone local.
We had several excellent proposals to consider, but we figured
we only had one shot at this, so we went with Roger Brooks, even though
he was among the most expensive, Armstrong said.
Brooks, whose company is Destination Development Inc., visited Madison
in April and conducted an assessment of the town. He presented much
of his findings at a three-hour community forum before leaving.
The results of his study are now available in a report on hand at the
Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 601 W. First St. The public
can request a copy of the report. Brooks visit was sponsored in
part by the Indiana Department of Tourism. He is scheduled to visit
several other Indiana towns this year, including Vevay.
Brooks assessment of Madison provides an unbiased overview of
the community and how it is seen by the visitor. The report includes
a review of local marketing efforts, signage, attractions, critical
mass, retail mix, ease of getting around, customer service, visitor
amenities such as parking and public restrooms, overall appeal and the
communitys ability to attract overnight visitors.
There are some great, practical, inexpensive ideas in this report,
said Linda Lytle, CVB Executive Director. The report stresses
the importance of developing Madison as a vital, fun, colorful place
for both visitors and citizens alike. We want everyone to look at Madison
and say Wow, this is the place to be.
Retailers and business owners will find many suggestions for signage
and beautification. Brooks sites examples from communities that
have significantly increased revenues by creating beautiful streetscapes
and providing environments where people want to hang out. With
all the great events happening this summer wouldnt it be great
for Madison to look as beautiful as we know it can be.
This is the start of Madisons tourism season so pick up
a copy of the report, get inspired and get creative, Lytle said.
At least two of Brooks suggestions already have moved into action
Main Street beautification and a walking tour book that can be
sold locally for residents and visitors alike. The mayors wife,
Debbie, and local retailers Crystal Fulton of the Madison Mercantile
and Wanda Gross of Wandas Gifts have led an initiative to install
flowers, trees and benches along Main Street. The effort is being funded
from donations and from profits of social events planned by Debbie Armstrong.
The beautification committee was formed and began its efforts before
Brooks arrived in town, however, the initiative addresses one of his
During his visit, Brooks walked the backstreets of Madison and suggested
someone produce a guide to the lesser known attractions and scenes.
He showed a sample of a book that was produced in another town where
he had done some consulting work.
Anne Fairchild, educational programs director at Lanier Mansion and
six other Indiana state historic sites, has taken on that project. The
Madison CVB has tentatively agreed to help with publishing costs. The
book has to meet with the CVBs approval before any final agreement
is established, Lytle said.
We are delighted that Fairchild has decided to pursue this,
Lytle said. We will do what we can to support her.
According to Fairchild, the project is still in its infancy. Right
now, we are at the wishful thinking stage, said Fairchild,
who moved to Madison in December 2005. Although we have every
intention of doing the project, nothing is organized yet.
She hopes to start working on the book within the next few weeks.
At this point, Fairchild believe the focus of the book will be architectural
treasures in Madison. Her experience in working with museums and local
historic societies have helped her notice some interesting things of
which others may not be aware, she said.
We are looking to compile a hidden secrets book that
will have places with interesting histories, she said.
Staff Writer Konnie McCollum contributed
to this report.
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