Community success

February 28, 2014 

To accurately measure the success of any community program we need to start at the beginning said entrepreneur Henry Ford. Ford became renowned not just for being the founder of the Ford Motor Company, but for his vision on the importance of working together, which is credited for helping to build the American economy during the most difficult of times.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Several months back we developed an affordable way for Lee’s Summit’s private sector to be part of the City’s overall marketing and advertising program, which we were introducing via magazine, newspaper, television, radio and interactive media. By employing the “economies of scale,” we created several tiered co-op advertising options to ensure the most efficient and effective use of everyone’s precious marketing dollars. The idea was simply to get the Lee’s Summit message out in front of the right audience, at the right time, at the right price since in Missouri alone, there are 961 cities competing for the same tourism and business dollars.

The benefits sited back then, which are still as relevant today are:

1. A “bigger pie” would allow everyone to get a larger slice.

2. When we all share a common vision it fosters a unified and cooperative spirit.

3. Collaboration builds consistency which creates universal respect and credibility for our community.

4. It paves the way for a greater ROI from any and all joint marketing efforts.

5. Increased customers, increased income and increased tax revenues.

I’ve heard it said that only the U.S. Mint can make money without advertising. Therefore, marketing and advertising are two common business practice threads that tie public and private sectors together. And they’re essential to both profitability and growth. Our marketing efforts allow us to reinforce the essence of the Lee’s Summit brand, while attracting and retaining both visitors and investors. It also serves to help inoculate our city from the “leakage” which occurs when residents and business owners spend their money outside of our community.

So let’s examine a sample of additional quantifiable and recognized measurement tools:

1. Now 50 percent of all our marketing expenditures can be traced to private sector investment.

2. We’ve been able to expand our marketing program to include television, in addition to strategically targeted magazine, newspaper, radio, signage, collateral and Interactive/Social media.

3. Our private sector partners, now over two dozen represent tourism, retail, lodging/hospitality, healthcare, cultural arts, restaurants, education, downtown, community service clubs, not-for-profits and real estate.

4. Our additional media buying power, thanks to the private sector has contributed free, no-cost, value added, preferred positioning and bonus media support that now makes up over 30 percent of all our marketing and advertising program.

5. Turn-out for our community festivals & events is at an all-time high.

Then there are the intangibles such as a renewed sense of community pride and involvement which represents an emotional value which is only possible through partnership and collaboration.

Yours Truly

James McKenna is the branding manager for the City of Lee’s Summit. Reach him at JMcKenna@lschamber.com.

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