Lakeville is ‘Positioned to Thrive’
New marketing effort coming to the city
by Aaron M. Vehling
When it comes to selling Lakeville to the region, state and neighboring states, the city is “Positioned to Thrive.”
That is the new tag line developed as part of an overall marketing effort the city is undertaking with the help of urban planning consultants Arnett Muldrow of North Carolina.
Among the goals is the idea of showing prospective businesses, residents and tourists what sets Lakeville apart from other suburbs in the metro. It is a way to recruit new businesses by targeting and engaging corporate site selectors and decision makers, said Community and Economic Development Director Dave Olson.
“There are a lot of cities (in the metro) with populations of 40-to-50,000,” Olson said. “It portrays a positive brand image for Lakeville.”
Olson will present the full plan at the March 21 State of the City presentation, but he offered a preview at the Downtown Lakeville Business Association meeting on March 14.
The strategy is not just a method for attracting new people to the city, though. It also is about growing and retaining existing businesses, according to the plan.
The $32,000 marketing plan, paid for by a grant from Dakota County, was borne of an extensive process that involved more than 36 interviews, a number of roundtables and Arnett Muldrow’s detailed “community reconnaissance,” regional tours and photo shoots. The firm also interviewed local high school students to get feedback from the next generation.
Ongoing funding of the effort, an amount less than the front-loaded costs, is set aside in the 2012 and 2013 budgets, Olson said.
The strength behind the effort was a steering committee that consisted of members of the city’s Economic Development Commission, the Chamber of Commerce, the DLBA and city staff over the course of three meetings. The decision for the prevailing tag line was a unanimous one, Olson said.
Arnett Muldrow had recommended the city replace its current tag line, “The southern gateway to the Twin Cities,” because of its implication.
“It has served us well,” Olson said, “but their perception of that was in some people’s minds a gateway is something you pass through on the way to someplace else. Obviously, that’s not what we want to portray.”
Implementation of the plan includes a redesigned economic development website, the use of Google Analytics to measure the web success of the message, online and print advertising and improved use of social media options.
The advertising campaign will center on variations of the tag-line theme, if not the tag line itself.
Production samples show variations such as “Positioned for business” and “Thriving downtown” for those ads aimed toward economic development. Arts-themed ads might use “The arts thrive here.” For families looking to locate in Lakeville, there is “Positioned for life.”
The next step is the creation of a Partners Committee, Olson said, which will discuss joint uses of the identity and creative pieces. The Lakeville school district administration has expressed an interest in becoming part of this process, Olson said.
The initial marketing efforts will begin locally and regionally and spread statewide and to neighboring states as the process progresses, Olson said. National efforts are not likely, though.
“To do anything nationally gets expensive real quick,” he said.
Ultimately, the effort is the city’s opportunity to carve a unique identity for itself outside perceived conceptions of the municipality.
“Lakeville is a full-service city,” Olson said. “It’s not just a bedroom community. We have jobs, retail… All aspects of a full-service city.”
Aaron M. Vehling is at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/sunthisweek.