BRATTLEBORO – BIPOC influencers and writers are invited to town to share their experiences with the world.
Stephanie Bonin, executive director of the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, said the community marketing campaign is funded annually by 10 percent of the city’s tax revenue on rooms and meals.
“The idea is to make sure that we continue to cultivate the people who come to our community and visit our city and take advantage of our city for day trips or long weekends,” she said. declared Tuesday at the board meeting. “More specifically, this phase defined a target audience for the BIPOC community. “
Greg Lesch, executive director of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, could not recall another project in which the town had marketed itself. He said that in the past, the city relied on the chamber or the downtown organization for such efforts.
“So we are extremely happy to partner with the city, to reinvest hospitality tax dollars to have a significant impact on our local community, our local economy,” he said. “I think the data Blue Whale will provide is a clear illustration of our message getting across platforms and outlets that we have never had access to in the past.”
Lesch shared good reviews from the New England Center for Circus Arts and the Latchis Hotel and Theater on visits resulting in coverage or social media posts from influencers and writers.
The initial “Love Brattleboro” campaign began under Pennilless Projects of South Newfane, which did not renew a contract last year after a difference of opinion over marketing strategy.
Rosalie Martin, executive vice president and account manager at Blue Whale Public Relations in Seminole, Fla., Said her group started in April.
“We really exceeded even my own expectations and our goals from the start,” said Martin. “In just six months … we have generated over 71 million impressions and this is strictly advertising reach … and it has come from a variety of national media, online, print, regional publications. , blogs, influencers, I would say generated content We have had both people specific to BIPOC and people not specific to BIPOC but who are sensitive to these topics and cover these topics as part of their travel coverage.
Martin explained “cost per thousand” as an industry standard for measuring how much money is spent to reach 1,000 people. She said that currently the rate for the local marketing program is around $ 1.63, while the average for paid advertising is around $ 2.80.
Brattleboro is marketed as a multicultural, BIPOC-friendly and post-pandemic destination with “undiscovered gems”.
Lauren Dunaj, strategist at Blue Whale, said reporters often come to her group to find sources of stories and leads to present certain things. For example, Blue Whale provided the name of the inn on Putney Road when a writer set out to create a list of romantic inns in Vermont and New England.
Dunaj said the company also offers stories based on seasons and news cycles. The plan is to start coming up with winter vacation and travel ideas soon.
Since April, the program has hosted nine traveling journalists.
“Our set target, our pace, was about two reporters per month,” Martin said. “After the firsts, where we understood and had a good idea and a good idea of what the route planning involved and the available resources involved, we had to be sensitive to the fact that some companies were about to open . after the pandemic where they had more restricted hours, such as restaurants, so we had to try to schedule visits when businesses were open, when we had availability with our hotel partners. “
It is estimated that over 70 companies and events were featured through the writings of traveling journalists. Martin said his group “really strives to spread awareness of as many entities, businesses, events as possible, whether through direct experiences or by including some of our partners at dinners or breakfasts or whatever so they can tell their stories. “
Bonin said the state covers the writers’ airfare and is highlighting the campaign as an example for other Vermont communities to follow.
Since Blue Whale launched the campaign, it has reported an increase of approximately 30% in the number of followers on Instagram and an increase of approximately 11% on Facebook for “Love Brattleboro” campaign accounts. Martin noted that the increases are very high as social media pages were practically dormant during the pandemic.
Board chair Elizabeth McLoughlin thanked the team for the presentation and said the board looked forward to discussing next year’s funding at the representative city’s annual meeting in March .