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Rushford Peterson Valley brand takes hold with Chamber

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Feb 7th, 2014
Posted in Rushford Village Government

Last June, a welcoming brand set root in three communities: Rushford, Peterson, and Rushford Village. In just shy of eight months, the brand has been embraced by businesses, organizations, residents, and now, the local chamber of commerce. In a much-anticipated move, the former Rushford Area Chamber of Commerce unanimously adopted the name of Rushford Peterson Valley Chamber of Commerce at its annual meeting February 1.

“This is a big deal,” enthused chamber president Doug Botcher. Latching onto the new brand, the chamber feels it will create a larger presence, memorability in peoples’ minds, for the community. Additionally, lowering marketing expense and less consumer risk are widely resulted with a known community brand. Other key benefits noted include consumer loyalty, premium image development, business growth, including recruitment and retention, and economic stability. Largely, the collaboration will also yield community stability.

“This creates a thriving environment and strong economy,” noted the chamber presentation. “What can you do? Grow community spirit. Champion the cause. Make an investment in community enhancement.”

Another force behind the name change was the desire to be inclusive to all three cities. “In the past, we’ve found that including ‘area’ in the name didn’t increase growth beyond the borders of Rushford. This is a spirit of collaboration. It brings the three communities together and follows a trend, moving from competitive to cooperative. We’re taking root.”

There will be some cost associated with the name change, but that amount has yet to be determined. Local legal counsel Terry Chiglo has generously done pro bono work for the chamber and according to Botcher, other than filing a few documents and a $35 check, there’s not much to make it legal, as the branding council already has legal ownership of the brand. Botcher noted that the banks, insurance carriers, and accountants have no issues with the change. The unknown portion is strictly in promotional materials. “It comes down to that and how much we do. We can only estimate that right now. We’ll have to discuss it more.”

The chamber is already making strides forward with its new image. Plans are underway to increase social media presence as well as revitalize and update the chamber website, linking it with other area websites. Noting image awareness and loyalty, chamber member Peggi Redalen noted, “Consistent, cohesive, and trusted, encompassing of all three cities, will be a great resource.”

Also moving forward at the annual meeting was the official marketing communications plan for the Highway 43 project in Rushford. Sally Ryman, marketing consultant hired by the city for the project, spoke to those in attendance, drumming up positivity and laying out tools for area businesses. “In successful projects, the business district didn’t wait for project to engage. There were dynamic two-way communications.”

The plan will be detailed on the city website within a week, she hopes, bolstering stronger connections between Rushford residents, area customers, and Rushford businesses. “Then we can say, ‘Construction is a nuisance, but hasn’t slowed us down,’” she enthused. Several tools and programs will be available to businesses and community organizations, including detailed mapping of phases and routes, a Matching Funds Program, a Sign Program, customer service training, and website optimization.

Through the Matching Funds Program, “The EDA-Chamber Steering Committee will match, dollar-for-dollar, up to $500 per request, when local businesses and community groups invest in projects to minimize the impacts caused by major infrastructure repairs to Highway 43.”

Likewise, minimizing the impact, the Sign Program will see $75, from the steering committee, to creation of a sign for businesses having to close their front doors and direct foot traffic through other entrances. The coroplast signs will feature the business name, logo, and the Rushford Peterson Valley image. Businesses wanting more on their signs will be responsible for costs beyond the initial $75 paid. Signs are being designed and constructed by Rush Creek Signs, Ltd., of Rushford.

Ryman is asking all area businesses and organizations to have details of known sales and promotions for the year to her by February 17. “This is the first slice,” she noted. “It’s the advertising deadline for some regional publications. “Any great ideas, that are going to help your businesses or a group of businesses, bring them forward. Don’t wait until construction to bring things up.”

Businesses and organizations can contact the chamber of commerce at 864-3338 for more information.

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