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Forward Franklin gets some marketing tools

Nov. 20, 2012

Franklin - The city's economic development panel has received a green light from the Common Council to develop a brochure and website to promote the community as a business destination.

Members of the Forward Franklin Economic Development Committee this week said the communications tools will be done with the intent of getting the best bang for the buck.

The council approved spending $2,967 to develop and print a glossy brochure.

The original proposal was to spend more than $22,600 to develop a website, but Forward Franklin leaders said they expect the costs to be minimal because they will use the expertise of their members.

"Everyone took a look at it and said they could share a lot of the responsibilities," said Ald. Steve Taylor, one of the members. "It looks like most, if not all, of the things connected with the website can be done by putting people in charge of certain aspects."

Craig Haskins, Forward Franklin chairman, said the site will cost less than $200 annually to keep it active.

Growth potential

Haskins said he feels the brochure and website will get needed financial support as long as the economic panel can show their benefit to city leaders.

"I'm thrilled with the approval, because there have been so many new things on the horizon that Franklin should promote," Haskins said, pointing to a wide range of developments - including the possibility of companies relocating and the construction of the Drexel interchange.

"Companies have expanded and we are hopeful that Meijer will move in," he said. "The interchange will allow better access to us and will allow more people to discover what Franklin has to offer."

The idea behind the communication tools, he said, is to let people discover the city when they do a general web search.

"Franklin is very strong in retail industrial, manufacturing and financial services," Haskins said. "The only thing that we do not have is the daytime population to draw from because we have so many people who work outside the area.

"We want to change that and as a result of promoting the city, we can draw more people who also want to live here."

Process, not dollars

Haskins also noted that Forward Franklin hopes to attract businesses without having the city develop impactful financial incentives.

"We want to make the city as user-friendly as possible," he said. "We want people who see the materials and are interested in learning more to start with the mayor. The city has done a lot to make the process easier for potential developers and businesses who want to relocate. I'm sure they are planning to do more."

To get to that point, another Franklin Forward member said the key to communication is providing information quickly as well as personally.

"Brochures are fine, but you really need to be able to pull up the website on an iPhone or iPad," said John Michlig, a resident who makes his living as an independent marketing consultant. "If the mayor or another city official is at a conference, you want them to be able to pull that up and show it. It also gives the person they are showing it to the confidence that they can go back to their boss or peers and show them the same thing."

Michlig said the brochures are being developed so that they can be printed in short, quick quantities so that they do not become out of date.

"In my opinion, you have to think creatively in how to attract a new venture to your city," he said. "Everything now is about being quick with information, but also making that information meaningful. It means we will need to regularly adapt what we have to the various needs."

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