By DAVID KRIER
The crowd was small, just over a dozen people, but the ideas flowed freely Monday night in the high school cafeteria over what the Boscobel Developers and Chamber of Commerce are calling Boscobel’s Community Branding and Revitalization effort.
“We decided we were going to pool our resources the best we can on how we can together market our community,” said Chamber board member Eric Swan in kicking off the public forum. “This is a community effort, not just one person.”
The Chamber and Developers initiated a joint marketing plan in October and released their initial findings earlier this month.
“Tourism is the front door to non-tourism growth,” said Boscobel Economic Development Director Tim Jacobson. “Our goal is to differentiate Boscobel from other area communities. The multitude of messages that we’ve been putting out there hasn’t been a common message.”
Jacobson mentioned Boscobel’s past and present slogans like the Birthplace of the Gideon Bible, the Wild Turkey Hunting Capital of Wisconsin and, as a billboard on Highway 61 proclaims, the home of “Beautiful Woods.” Instead, he and the Chamber have proposed a common theme entitled, “The Outdoor Recreation Capital of Wisconsin,” stressing Boscobel’s outstanding hunting, boating, fishing, hiking and biking opportunities.
“As is the case wherever one goes, oftentimes people don’t realize all of the activities and resources available right in their own backyards,” Jacobson said. “Boscobel has a tremendous amount to offer to visitors in terms of outdoor recreation. Nobody in the entire Midwest can compete with wild and beautiful splendor of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway and the absolutely enormous number of publicly accessible acres. The question is, do we see ourselves as an outdoor recreation destination and can we promote that?”
Jacobson proposed a targeted marketing campaign aimed at specific user groups, including anglers, canoeists, bicyclists, hikers, campers and hunters, as well as an interactive map on the web pinpointing specific destinations.
“Hopefully we can get positive messages out there that will appeal to visitors and develop a unified message to bring people to our community,” he said.
To help pay for the new marketing effort Jacobson is applying for a $39,000 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant through the state of Wisconsin.
Jacobson started the meeting with a video presentation that among other things showed half a dozen new logo concepts, but cautioned the audience that the new logo is just a small part of the overall marketing effort.
“A logo makes up about 2 percent of a brand image, so don’t get too hung up on what the logo ultimately will look like,” Jacobson said. “The idea is the concept of a broad outdoor recreation experience; that’s what we’re promoting.”
Citizen input on Jacobson’s initial logo was positive, as was one recently created by Roddy Dull of American Signs & Designs.
“I like them all, depending on what audience you’re appealing to—fishing, canoeing, bicycling—whatever,” said Tom Pelz. “I’m a bicycle tourist, but they’re all great. The canoeing/kayaking thing is phenomenal.”
Swan said nailing down a logo that hits everything while not being too busy is a challenge. “Part of the problem is that there are so many great things to promote. It’s a great problem to have, but hard to incorporate into a single logo.”
Several people had a problem with the word capital, as in Outdoor Recreation Capital of Wisconsin.
“The whole concept is great, except for the word capital. Can’t you use a different word?” asked Karl Krogen.
“It could be outdoor recreation destination instead of capital,” responded Jacobson. “We are in the heart of the Lower Wisconsin River, so I just thought capital was appropriate.”
Chamber President Tom Richter said what many were probably thinking when he suggested that you’re never going to satisfy everyone, no matter what logo you choose.
Time is now
“If you’re looking for the perfect logo, it’s probably not out there. If you’re looking for 100 percent approval, it’s probably not out there. You’re never going to satisfy everyone,” Richter said. “We need to move on with this now or we could be here for another year or two.”
Dull agreed, saying, “Let’s do it. It’s going to take support from the entire community in a lot of different places. You need to jump into it with both feet.”
“We’ve taken so much for granted for so long. We need to get the word out about everything we have to offer,” added Krogen.
Richter said the Chamber is currently looking at purchasing some tourist-related advertising as spring approaches and asked Jacobson what his timeline was.
“We don’t have a definite timeline,” said Jacobson, “but I’d like to finalize a decision in the next month, month and a half.”
He added that the Chamber’s Marketing Committee will reconvene soon to once again go over the proposals and he is in the process of submitting grant applications.
“We’re possibly looking at a grand launch on the Fourth of July,” said Swan.