Community Development & Community Branding

Have the right people. Have the right tools. Have the right training. Have the right attitude. Have success.

“Give any small community the right tools, the right training and the right attitude and that community will prosper,” Greg Girard.

 Community development and community branding in Canada is a lot like a puzzle. Some pieces fit nicely. Some you try to force into place. Some pieces are missing. After trial and error, a picture finally emerges. Does the picture live up to your expectations? Was it as good as you thought it was? Does the picture generate the right emotions you were aiming for?

community development

Community development is like a puzzle

Community Development For Small Towns

Few community marketing programs succeed without hard work, determination and a belief in themselves, and in their community. Without bringing the right mindset to the table programs often struggle. Time is not your friend when implementing new systems. Why? Because everyone wants results yesterday in a world of instants.  Shortsightedness and unrealistic goals also put unnecessary pressures on any community program.  Programs designed for long term success reap the best results. 

However, when participants bring the right attitude, and are provided the right tools, the right training at the right price any community can become a power house in their region. Imagine a turn key,  all-in-one small community marketing program which includes platforms, training, and all the right tools for generating revenue, attracting corporate investment, small businesses, and/or tourism dollars to the area. It would need to be a flexible system too so small communities can grow and target new markets like tourism seasons, families,  jobs, and  adventure groups to name a few.  It would have to be customizable too so the program grows with the community instead of the community outgrowing the program. 

WATCH VIDEO – Small Town Marketing Program

“If You Build It They Will Come” Kevin Costner – Field of Dreams

Experience Nicola Valley Authentic Content Marketing Community Program

To make it all work you need a small town and rural community program that requires no additional staff, requires very little time, provides the basic skills to compete and is affordable to start up, maintain and grow as the community grows.  Well now there is such a program available! Our technical team has done it. We have a small town program built especially for small towns. We have tested it in real time in a real region. The Experience Nicola Valley and Experience Merritt Program is a resounding success. The analytics, feedback, support letters, testimonials are all off the charts. Currently the program is growing, while other communities sit still waiting for regional government and community tourism to save them. The Experience Nicola Valley Program could not come at a better time with COVID knocking on their door. 

Community Development Changing Of The Guard

Unfortunately, the puzzle making scenario mentioned above, rolls out in many Canadian small towns and rural communities.  And, to make matters worse, every time their is a changing of the guard, at the community level, the completed puzzle is torn down and thrown away. A new puzzle is started. The ” I am going to put my stamp on things ” mentality takes precedent over listening and learning. Therefore the same old issues surface,  just a different pile. 

small town brand

Many stakeholders in small towns wear many hats

Wearing Too Many Hats in Your Community

Prior to COVID 19 , many stakeholders in small towns and rural villages across this great nation of ours wear 2 or 3 hats in order to keep the lights on in the community per say.  Many work regular day jobs. Some work at City Hall, own a small business or work in some official community or regional capacity. Some sit on local boards of some of the associations in town. Then there are those who volunteer for local groups, clubs and sporting associations. In small towns and rural villages across this great nation of ours we are multi-tasking responsibilities. Small towns are juggling a lot of balls. Only time will till when, not if, they drop one.

Listening to the Needs of a Community

Why so many balls to juggle you ask? One thing our 10 year study of over 1000 Canadian communities taught us was that the needs and wants of small town Canada do not line up with the available inventory of community marketing tools and training. Why? Follow the money. The big money, the cash cow in all this, is in the marketing and branding programs, training and platforms designed for large urban centres which require plenty of staff, skills, time and funding.

Implementing large programs in small towns with a population of 300, 4000, 7,000 or even 10,000 is too much work with higher costs and little return. Where is the money in that?  Most small communities do not have the skills to operate and manage these large complex marketing models.  Hire more staff they say! Pay them with what… gift certificates, coupons, or produce from the local farm market?  And, to complicate issues even more, small communities in Canada all compete and apply for the same grants and funding.  It is an ass-backwards system. There is a huge disconnect.

Introducing the Experience Community Program

A Canadian small town and rural community content marketing program 

Our 10 year research study revealed many inadequacies with the community marketing systems in place for small and rural Canada. One glaring gap is in online marketing platforms, skills training and affordability. On our arrival back from our study we set our technology team on a mission. We asked them to develop a small town community marketing program that is affordable and low maintenance with big returns.  We are proud to announce they succeeded.

The EH? Travel Marketing Group is proud to have developed a proven, “first-to-market” community driven content marketing program specifically designed for small and rural Canadian communities called “Experience Community”. Just before COVID 19 we completed a 18 month pilot project in partnership with Tourism Nicola Valley. The project generated triple digit increases in memberships, search engine visibility, social media penetration and community participation!

Click for Experience Community Information Package

community development

Experience Community Program

“The “Experience Community Program” levels the tourism marketing and promotion playing field between small and urban centres.” Amber Papou Vision Merritt

Program Applications

  • develop tourism seasons
  • increase business downtown
  • increase economic development
  • attract new interest groups
  • promote physical inventory
  • promote small business / non
  • profits / groups
  • attract new investments
  • attract new families
  • attract / promote events
  • increase community pride
  • generate revenue

What is Experience Community?

The “Experience Community Program” consists of 2 interactive “real-time” content marketing platforms. Both platforms talk to each other sharing information.

(1) A “living real time” content marketing website connecting to 1000+ other communities sharing travelers and piggybacking each others marketing efforts.

“Top 20 Travel Websites To Watch” Feed Spot 2019

(2) A blogsite with locals, non profits, groups, small businesses, tourism all participating and creating search engine optimized content in the form of stories and experiences.

“The BEST thing that has happened in our community in the last 10 years!” Shelley Sanders – Canadian Country Music Heritage Society

Community Development Using Technology

The platforms are built with leading content marketing technology. Both platforms promote the region in real-time connecting travelers, investors and others directly with local business websites and social media channels. Participating locals, volunteers, small businesses, non profits, community groups, etc produce the authentic content via a customized online submission editing tool.

Train. Train. Train.

The program includes a comprehensive content marketing, blogging and social media training program for community participants. Training is led by a top ranked content marketing specialist. Training continues with an online library. On site visits can be arranged for public speaking and follow up training.

No Staff. No skills. No worries. 

No staff required. All editing, maintenance, SEO page optimizing, publishing and social media development and marketing services are available. Our in house editing department preps all work, publishes, maintains it and markets it. You just create information pages, stories, videos and our team does the rest.

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ehCanadaTravel.com

Staycation Specialists

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“Leave No Tourism Business Behind”

18,000+ pages & 16,000+ photos/videos

eh canada travel - small and rural community consultant

Small Town Canada Community Consultant / Co Founder at eh Canada Travel

Greg Girard is a co founding brother of the award winning adventure and travel website and blog ehCanadaTravel.com. Greg is also a top ranked Canadian travel blogger who enjoys public speaking, and working with as many small and rural Canadian communities as possible. Greg is an avid outdoor enthusiasts and amateur photographer who enjoys backpacking, road trips, wilderness camping, snowboarding and what he calls hacking (others call it golf).

Top 20 Canada Travel Websites to Watch – FeedSpot 

#23 Top 1000 Global Travel Bloggers – Global Rise

Best Canadian Blogger — Expertido 

#4 Top 60 Canadian Travel Bloggers – BlogSpot

#7 Top 100 Canadian Travel Bloggers – Flight Network

FEATURED ON: CBC, Canada.com, Huffington Post, Nature Conservancy of Canada, TravelTV.com, Travel Industry Today, Cottage Life Magazine, Yukon Life, TAPS Magazine, HUB Magazine and many community newspapers.

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