As readers of this website know, we’ve been working with the U of M Extension Service on a Market Area Profile. Two of the NDDC’s top goals for this work are a more finely-grained understanding of our assets and an effective means of communicating about them to a broader market.
A subset of the larger working group, consisting of Hayes Scriven of the Historical Society, Rob Schanilec of By All Means, Todd Byhre of the Archer House, and myself, had a few informal gatherings in order distill all the data into a more useable form. We called the results “The Top Ten Reasons to Make It a Weekend in Northfield”.
It was just four guys’ ideas, it certainly wasn’t scientific, and nobody is claiming that it’s the last word on the topic. However, there was much agreement on the list. Here it is for your review:
1. Historic District (classic architecture, pedestrian scale)
2. Natural Setting (Wild and Scenic River, Big Woods State Park, Carleton Arboretum)
3. One-of-a-Kind Shops and Restaurants (Riverwalk, outdoor dining, pubs)
4. Cultural Offerings and Events (galleries, theater, live music)
5. Outdoor Activities (hiking, fishing, golfing, biking, canoeing)
6. Two Nationally-Ranked Colleges (quality education, cultural contributors)
7. Clean and Safe (“Leave the Stress at Home”)
8. Regional Attractions (Valley Grove Church, Veblen House, Mill Ruins)
9. Conveniently and Centrally Located (Rochester, Twin Cities, towns in between)
10. Friendly People (“They say hello on the sidewalks”)
The two current co-chairs of the NDDC Events and Marketing Committee, Jessica Paxton of Carleton College and Julie Bixby of the Contented Cow, used the information to shape the marketing campaigns for the JuneBug Music Fest and the ArtSwirl Celebration of the Arts. Ultimately, the tag line become “Historic, Scenic, Authentic Northfield”.
We got a lot of positive feedback on this approach. In fact, the instructor from the U of M Extension Service, Bruce Schwartau, saw one of our ads in the Strib and immediately recognized the source of the theme. We plan to continue building on it as we move forward, promoting Northfield to the world.