to take place in early December
input sought to define
image for citys marketing plan
(December 2008) Selling Madison has never
been hard, tourism officials say, once visitors have spent any time
here. They usually leave wanting to come back.
But the myriad of reasons why people like the historic river town makes
it difficult for tourism officials to wrap their fingers around a slogan
that fits and one that embraces all the town has to offer.
To aid in that regard, a group of local partners have pooled
their resources to hire Seattle-based consultant Roger Brooks of Destination
Development Inc. to develop a marketing brand for Madison.
These partners, which includes local historic preservation,
retail and economic development agencies, are spending $50,000 for Brooks
and his staff to develop the brand. It will then be up to the partners
to come up with even more money to develop a marketing campaign to advertise
the city to repeat and prospective new visitors, plus attract new residents
and businesses to move here.
Brook and his staff will spend a week in Madison, from Dec. 8-12, to
gather input from loca residents, retailers and business owners, then
present their preferred Branding Plan at a public meeting
on the last night, Dec. 11. The week is designed to gather the ideas
of anyone who wants to offer advice or opinions about what Madisons
brand should be.
Participation by local residents and business owners is critical
to the process, said Monica Dixon, a team psychologist and facilitator
with Destination Development who will help lead the weeklong charrette.
We dont like to be seen as these outside consultants who
come into your town and tell you what to do. We want feedback and involvement
from the community, so we have built in many feedback loops to accomplish
Dec. 9: 7-9:30 p.m. at Venture Out Business Center, 975 Industrial
Dr. This meeting is to educate the public on community branding
basics and solicit their input and vision for Madison.
Wednesday, Dec. 10: 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Brooks
temporary work studio at 601 W. Main St. This is an opportunity
for community members to review ideas from the previous nights
meeting and provide additional information and feedback.
Thursday, Dec. 11: 6-8 p.m. at the Brown Gym,
100 S. Broadway. Brand Direction Workshop to present the preferred
Branding Plan to the community for feedback and review.
Dec. 10-11: Additional time is available for
community members to visit the branding studio at 601 W. Main
St. from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday
to share ideas and review the progress.
TBA in February 2009: Roger Brooks and his
team return to Madison to present the final plan.
Information: Call Linda Lytle at the Madison
Area Convention and Tourism Bureau at (812) 265-2956 or Nancy
Gruner, Madison Main Street Program, at (812) 701-9500.
Brooks team will set up shop for the week in a vacant
storefront at 601 W. Main St. They will entertain visitors there to
gather input. They also will hold three public meetings during the week:
Dec. 9 at Venture Out Business Center; Dec. 10 at their storefront on
Main Street; and Dec. 11 at the Brown Gym, where the final preferred
Branding Plan will be unveiled to the public. A final Branding Plan
will be presented by Brooks in February 2009 at a time and place yet
to be announced.
Brooks himself will be in Madison the entire week. In recent years,
he has become a foremost expert nationally in designing brands and marketing
campaigns for more than 450 cities large and small, and for stylish
resorts and ski lodges in the United States and Canada.
Brooks has many lists on his website www.DestinationDevelopment.com
and among those describing a brand, he writes:
Brands are perceptions. Your communitys brand is what people
think of you. Its a perception. Logos, slogans and nice looking
ads are NOT brands. They are just marketing messages used to support
and promote the brand. Do we go to Disney
land because their slogan is The Happiest Place on Earth?
No, we go to Disneyland because of what we know of it, our feelings
and perceptions of the theme park. The slogan simply reinforces that
The website is full of other information that would be helpful for those
planning to take part in Madisons branding initiative.
Brooks was a keynote speaker for two consecutive years at the Hoosier
Hospitality Conference in Indianapolis, where he impressed Indiana tourism
officials. As a result, the state paid half of the fee for six hand-picked
Indiana towns to host Brooks this year to receive his assessment and
recommendations. Brooks visited Madison last April and returned to assess
Vevay the past fall. Brooks also has recently completed a brand development
initiative in Chesterton, Ind., located on the shore of the Indiana
Dunes State Park.
In April, Brooks weeklong assessment of Madison
produced several recommendations. Among them were erecting improved
directional signage on roadways both leading into town and in town;
removing of temporary signs, banners and fliers; beautifying the entrance
to city coming from the bridge; creating more welcoming signs for storefronts
regarding hour of operation; expanding business hours; beautifying Main
Street with flowers and cleaning up streetscapes; developing gathering
places for street performers; creating better signage for public restrooms
and attractions, such as Heritage Trail, Lanier Mansion and the Jefferson
County Heritage Museum; and creating informational kiosks at the riverfront
gazebo and Main Street Comfort Station.
Madison officials decided to hire Brooks to develop their brand after
having heard from several other consulting firms who bid for the opportunity.
We are hoping that whatever they come up with will help us promote
our city to visitors and newcomers. And I think it is good to have someone
from the outside to come here and see the town from a fresh perspective,
said Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong.
We all know what we have, but we dont know how that is being
projected to the outside world.
Gerry Reilly, president of the Madison Main Street Program, said: I
think it is important because the latest theory among marketing experts
is that people identify with brands. But you want our brand to be legitimate
and truly representative of the nature of our town. This is not only
for tourism but also for economic development and to help attract people
to move here or open a business here.
Nancy Gruner, the Main Street Programs executive director, added:
What is unique about this approach is that it will be a joint
effort with lots of opportunity for public input. The average person
can be a part of the process their ideas are not only welcome
but necessary for us to be successful.
The partners who provided money for Madisons branding initiative
include the Jefferson County Board of Tourism, City of Madison, Jefferson
County Commission, Economic Development Partners of Jefferson County,
the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Community Foundation of
Jefferson County. A state grant of $20,000 was provided through the
Madison Main Street Program for the project. Other members of the group
are Historic Madison Inc. and the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site.
For more information on Roger Brooks and his
philosophy on tourism, visit his website: www.DestinationDevelopment.com.
Back to December 2008