Familiarization tours, more commonly known as “FAM Tours,” are a fantastic tool for bringing out of town investors, agencies, or consultants to your area. Often initiated by economic developers, FAM Tours provide your guests with the perfect opportunity to experience all your community has to offer.
Regardless of your role in the process, you want to assure that everything runs smoothly for both the hosts and guests. Whether you are hosting the event directly or for a client, you all have the same goal—make your guests want to come back. There’s nothing worse than flying across the country to find a room full of people hectically deciding on a schedule. Weekend: ruined.
The Difference Makers
Let the experiences speak for themselves. Your guests need time to let everything sink in. They are experiencing things for the first time. Don’t ruin it by treating your event like a business meeting.
Give them something tangible to remember you by. Often, hosts will provide their guests with gift bags containing local goodies they can only get from the area they’re visiting. Hosting in Wisconsin? Give them a delicious cheese sampler that they can’t get anywhere else.
Local is good, but local and unique is better. Yeah, Applebee’s might be an American treasure, but I can personally guarantee that you will be able to find somewhere local and unique for your guests to eat.
Don’t wait until they arrive to start building relationships. If you want your tour to be a success, start understanding who they are and what they like before they arrive. It will make for great conversation and easier event planning.
FAM Tours are not reality TV shows. Social media posts are a perfect way to market your tour, but bombarding your guests with pictures and questions will make them feel constricted.
Don’t be afraid to show them a good time. No one said you aren’t allowed to let your hairdown and have fun with your guests. All work and no play makes for a disappointing visit.
Every guest is their own person. Everyone enjoys doing different things, so mix it up a bit and show some variety throughout your itinerary.
Bring in some outsiders. While your tour should be both fun and educational, it’s always good to bring in some individuals outside of the business realm. Try inviting people who are thought leaders of community development projects, not just people who are trying to sell something.
Properly marketing your tour is essential for maximum attendance and, of course, good publicity. From save-the-dates and invitations, to booking flights and reservations, everything needs to be packaged perfectly. My recommendation? Collaborate with a marketing agency. Simple might do the trick for some, but strategy, creativity, and organization will make your event stand out from the rest.
Branding, Marketing, Public Relations, Strategy
Is it just me, or has the world of marketing been going a little too well over the past few weeks? It seems as though there was a faint ticking sound coming from the marketing campaign time bomb, just waiting to blow.
Since the unfortunate airing of the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial or the United Airlines passenger mishap, there really hasn’t been any exciting marketing and PR news. Well, that all changed last week when Bedrock Detroit decided to launch its “See Detroit Like We Do” campaign. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m pleased that another campaign finally fell through the cracks, but you must agree that it was long overdue.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, Bedrock Detroit placed a sign with the slogan “See Detroit Like We Do,” that filled the windows along the ground level of a building in downtown Detroit. That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Wrong. The photograph featured mostly white individuals in a city that is widely known for its diverse culture.
Yikes! Now What?
How companies handle unfortunate situations like the Bedrock Campaign is crucial for their ongoing success. Luckily, Dan Gilbert, founder of Bedrock Detroit and Quicken Loans, was able to address the situation with both speed and grace. “We screwed up badly the graphic package that was partially installed on the retail windows of the first floor of the Vinton Building, in downtown Detroit,” Gilbert said in an open letter posted on Bedrock Detroit’s Facebook page.
“Although not intended to create the kind of feelings it did, the slogan/statement we used on these graphics was tone deaf, in poor taste and does not reflect a single value or philosophy that we stand for at Bedrock Development or in our entire Family of companies,” the letter said. “We have killed the ‘See Detroit Like We Do’ campaign.” It looks like someone payed attention in public relations class! Bravo, Dan.
So, What Did We Learn?
The mistakes that companies make can be very detrimental to both their finances and public image. This is where the PR department must weigh its options; to act or not to act—that is the question.
- Act. And act quickly. When bad news hits you directly, you need to respond immediately.
- Give your organization a face. At this point you’re already dealing with bad publicity, so you want to present your company as one which people can connect with.
- Present the facts. Considering the media driven world we live in, many situations become twisted and can make your situation out to be worse than it is, so act truthfully.
- Be transparent. Allowing people to see how and why things went wrong can help your image in the future.
- Own up to your mistakes. Aside from acting quickly, this might be the most important step. People don’t want to hear the run-around of excuses. Admit your faults and move on.
- Be sincere. Most people can cut through a lot of business talk and empty words. If they can hear sincerity, they are more likely to be forgiving.
While it is somewhat unsettling to see our fellow marketers make these mistakes, it’s an eye-opening experience for anyone involved—particularly the audience. Put yourself in their shoes; see your message through their eyes. You don’t want to be the one to set off that ticking time bomb.
Communication, Marketing, Networking
When freshly graduated college students leave their campus nests, they often have the desire to spread their wings and move to a big city such as New York or Los Angeles. Their “take over the world” mentality is inspiring to say the least, but could be arguably more effective when implemented in a smaller area.
The cities with a little less glam (and a lot less traffic) are increasing their share of these valuable college grads at a much higher rate than the New Yorks of the world, ultimately creating a desirable working environment.
Draw What You See, Write What You Know
Contrary to what some people believe, working in the area that you grew up in or studied in can be extremely beneficial. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your region is a major advantage when entering the workforce.
There are plenty of unique opportunities that might not be as obvious to those accustomed to the anonymity of a big city. Specifically, in a smaller city, it’s often easier to create meaningful connections with other businesses and higher-ups.
Whether you are familiar with the industries in your area or not, it is crucial to know who you’re working with and who you’re up against. Familiarizing yourself with other businesses provides you with the opportunity to learn from what others do. This helps with the implementation of new ideas into your company’s strategy.
Success in an industry often comes down to who you know, and the tighter-knit communities allow for those successes to happen at a faster pace.
Live, Work, Play – Lenawee County
Lenawee County, while significantly smaller than New York, is known for its great educational opportunities, natural beauty, and diverse communities. Though it might be a cliché, it truly is a great place to live, work, and play.
The four exceptional post-secondary schools housed in Lenawee County allow for businesses to pull from the best of the best. As graduates leave their nests they take their knowledge and directly apply it to their career. Regardless of the time spent at these institutions, students have established networks that are bursting at the seams with potential.
Hoyden, Why Adrian?
Starting a business in Adrian was a no-brainer for cofounders Sarah Stanley and Molly Mason. Aside from being the only marketing and design agency in the area, the constant support for entrepreneurs from community members, municipality leaders, and other business owners is like no other. CEO, Sarah Stanley, had this to say, “Adrian is a small town eager to do big things. Knowing the attitude toward entrepreneurship, attracting young professionals, and filling gaps in service offerings just reassured our decision to locate here. We have received tremendous support and encouragement that have helped build the foundation of our business and are excited to be coming in at the time of Downtown Adrian’s revitalization effort. Adrian is home for us.”
Due to its recent development, more and more young professionals are moving to Adrian to begin their career. Creative Director, Alex Bourget, relocated from Washtenaw County to pursue her skills as a graphic designer for HCG and couldn’t be happier. “Working in Adrian has allowed me to become more involved with the community and local government. I feel as though I am able to get more accomplished here than I have anywhere else.”
The city’s leaders are dedicated to helping new businesses get started and flourish, and fellow businesses treat your growth as though it’s their own. Quite simply, Adrian provides a plethora of resources, talent, opportunities, and community involvement; the perfect recipe for a successful business.
Branding, Communication, Public Relations
Imagine that you’re taking your child to their first driving lesson, and out of nowhere, a car cuts you off and the driver is yelling at you. A few moments later, you pull up to the driving school to see the same person is now your child’s driving instructor. More than likely, you would take your child somewhere else. I’m not saying that you have to be a robot, but it’s important to be aware of your actions. Whether you’re on the clock or not, being a positive advocate for your brand is important.
I’m no wizard. Therefore, I can’t control when unexpected things happen to me. But, I can control the way I react to them. Showing self-control on tough situations tells people a lot about your character, which reflects positively on your brand.
Don’t be average
Demonstrate that your brand is unique. While attending networking events, make it a point to engage with everyone in the room, not just key people. Go above and beyond the norm. Learn about their interests and goals, so that you can offer support or advice. This builds trust, an important factor in business decisions.
When people trust you, your brand will speak for itself.
If you can successfully reach out and influence others positively, they will never forget about you.