Purpose of Project and Outcomes
The City of Kenora launched the Glad You Are Here campaign in spring of 2021 in response to the pandemic and in alignment with Kenora’s Economic Recovery Plan.
This plan outlines actions the City can take to address the pandemic impacts on the business community. One of the actions included the multi-media Glad You Are Here campaign to welcome residents, cottagers, neighbouring communities, and visitors to the municipality following the re-opening of the Manitoba/Ontario border and lifting of public health measures.
Glad You Are Here, Heureux de Vous Accueillir, Nishin Keybeshy-yen, Chu Kontan Tetsit are on the gateway signs welcoming everyone to the Harbourtown Centre. With this phrase as the foundation, Glad You Are Here focuses on reviving downtown activity and returning to shopping, dining, and events in Kenora.
Glad You Are Here also aimed to support businesses through events, activities and activations. The City redesigned its pop-up patio program and offered free parking in the downtown in July. Businesses provided a testimonial Glad You Are Here message for campaign materials. The closure of the Provincial border (45 minutes to the west) from April 19 to June 16, 2021 disrupted travel for residents, seasonal cottagers and visitors. Glad You Are Here was critical to communicate the impact that seasonal residents and neighbouring First Nation communities have on Kenora’s economy.
Collaboration with partner organizations and businesses were key to the project. Outcomes included:
Wake Marketing developed the campaign. City of Kenora Tourism, Economic Development, Communications and Northwest Business Centre executed the campaign.
Effectiveness in Meeting Objectives
The campaign was positively received by residents, the seasonal population, neighbouring communities, visitors, and local businesses. This broad audience was reached with existing wayfinding messaging, multiple forms of marketing, and supported by events and activities. Campaign messages encouraged everyone to return to the City to support shops, restaurants and activities as restrictions lifted.
Challenges and Changes Made
Provincial COVID-19 restrictions, the Roadmap to Re-open timeline, and local public health measures challenged the campaign rollout. The campaign was flexible and adapted when necessary. For example, the banner cutting was scaled back from a public event closing Main Street to a photo opportunity with key staff members.
The target audience was permanent and seasonal residents, neighbouring First Nations communities, and visitors. Kenora’s population is 15,500 with a service area of 25,000. In the summer months, the population doubles as it is cottage country for Manitoba.
Once the border opened and restrictions eased, it was important to welcome all groups of the target audience.
This campaign supported businesses who needed a boost to bring customers to shops, restaurants, and tourism activities after months of restrictions.
This campaign aligns with the language on municipal gateway signage strengthening and reinforcing the message year round. Staff plan to rerun this campaign in 2022.