A new marketing campaign in the works is intended to encourage Waunakee residents to visit local businesses and stress safety measures those businesses are taking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At their Aug. 17 meeting, The Waunakee Village Board approved a 50-50 cost share with the Waunakee Area Chamber of Commerce to fund the campaign, which is titled Get Out and Try Waunakee, or GOAT. The cost to the village is $15,000.
It will include a business support pack, a video campaign and events and promotions.
Jennifer Tasker of Opportunas Agency, LLC, described the advertising campaign. Businesses throughout Waunakee, including those who are not Chamber members, will receive “Yes We’re Open” signs and signs indicating that face masks are required.
“The idea behind this will be, anywhere you go in Waunakee will have exactly the same signage and a unified look to them,” Tasker said.
Also included in the packs will be an introduction letter, branded masks, hand sanitizer and a list of business resources for the owners.
The GOAT name is more than just an acronym, Tasker said, as goats will be featured in promotional videos and used for marketing and entertainment value. With Endres Manufacturing Company hosting goats on its campus during the warmer months, the animals have become an icon in Waunakee.
In addition to those videos, others will be selfie-style videos with local personalities and celebrities talking about what they are doing to get out and try in Waunakee, Tasker said. They will be featured on a website, waunakeegoat.com, secured and routed through the Waunakee.com portal.
Traditional media such as mail distribution, newspapers and television will be used as well, to get the word out.
Tasker said the marketing task force has reached out to the Rally Around Waunakee organizers, and that campaign will be rebranded.
Several events that take place throughout the fall and winter also will be rebranded, taking into consideration COVID-19 precautions.
On Sept. 26, GOAT Days will take the place of Depot Days, and on Oct. 14, a more COVID friendly Boo Bash is planned. In November, the nationwide Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to visit independently owned businesses, and in December, holiday events with Santa are planned.
Tasker said social media competitions will also be part of the campaign, with a scavenger hunt, coloring contest and others.
“It’s really a collaborative effort between everybody in town,” Tasker said.
Village President Chris Zellner asked if education could be provided for those who don’t want to abide by COVID-19 regulations, such as face-mask requirements.
Videos will show patrons and business owners masked up safely in local businesses, Village Administrator Todd Schmidt noted.
Tasker said from the feedback the task force has heard, people are scared to go out.
“Ironically, they’re scared to go out into say, the downtown area, but they’re happy to out to Walmart or Target… so that disconnect between not knowing it’s just as safe, if not safer, to go out to your local stores,” she said. “Our thoughts have been more around that and showing how it’s safe.”
Chamber Director Ellen Schaaf said two weeks prior, the Chamber board voted unanimously to move forward and partner with the village on the campaign. She said the Chamber has opened its resources for all businesses in the Waunakee and Westport area since the pandemic hit and will continue to for the rest of the year.
“It’s been nice having an expert marketer in this area. She’s really led us along, and we’ve also had a great group of task-force members,” Schaaf said, noting they have been meeting on Zoom weekly for the past six or seven weeks.
“This has really been the culmination of a lot of the thought, and this is where we’re at, and we’re super excited. We think it will prove to the community that the businesses care about their safety and the safety of their employees and kind of re-energize them,” Schaaf added, saying it will bring hope.
Trustee Gary Herzberg noted that several businesses have invested in expanding outdoor seating and asked if anything could be done to make the public aware.
“They’ve made some monetary investments. I think we should support them in their efforts to make it safer for the public,” Herzberg said.
That could be the focus of several videos, Schmidt said. Schmidt said he was excited for the partnership.
“It’s the right thing to do. I wish we could do more. I expect, frankly, we’re going to need to do more,” he said.
The village board approved the cost-share request with a unanimous vote.