The town of Innisfil proudly presents its advertising campaign, DMZ Innisfil 2.0, as an exceptional initiative aimed at redefining rural innovation and nurturing a thriving startup ecosystem. The Town of Innisfil is a rural community north of the GTA and the economic development team continuously heard the misconception that entrepreneurs needed to be located in Toronto in order to fully leverage business supports and connect with like-minded founders. Through the DMZ Innisfil Program the Town was able to bring world-class support to our rural community so that were able to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem while enjoying lakeside living.
By early 2022 the DMZ Innisfil program had gained traction with founders across the GTA, however, many local and regional entrepreneurs had not yet fully leveraged the program. Further awareness of the program locally was limited and full understanding of the services offered through DMZ Innisfil were not broadly realized. The DMZ Innisfil 2.0 program was launched in late 2022/early 2023 and pivoted focus to the support of local entrepreneurs (those living and working in Innisfil and Simcoe County) so we quickly identified the need help our local entrepreneurs identify and learn from local accelerator participants who had lived experience with the program. In order to increase regional awareness and understanding of the program and showcase the inclusivity of the programs, a very comprehensive, intentional and multi-pronged storytelling campaign was developed for 2023 to demystify the DMZ Innisfil program, demonstrate the power of rural innovation, and share the stories of local founders supported through the program. This campaign consists of a series of themed published advertisements, utilizing various digital assets, to showcase local startups and highlight the numerous opportunities, attractions, events, and services available within the community.
Central to our advertising campaign is storytelling. We recognize the impact of narratives in conveying our message and inspiring action. All elements of this campaign tied into three central key messages:
By telling the stories within our DMZ Innisfil 2.0 Campaign, we established a genuine connection with startup founders and entrepreneurs.
To effectively market the DMZ Innisfil startup accelerator, we employed a comprehensive strategy consisting of captivating digital ads, insightful videos, inspiring graphic quote testimonials, targeted email campaigns, interactive info sessions, and inclusive community events. Through these efforts, we have successfully attracted interest from more than 60 local startups and have accepted approximately 30 new local founders to the program representing a range of industries. Inclusivity is a key component of our advertising campaign, and this has been reflected in the applicants to our program. Our first two cohorts of 2023 represent a diverse cross-section of our community demographics, including underrepresented groups such as female founders and newcomers.
We’ve attached a full list of our individual advertising campaign components & analytics breakdown.
For our videos, photos, ads, and other content for this campaign: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1heBJV5q9V5K3BqAYBD5zlp2tUn9fvpDe?usp=sharing