The Township of Springwater was seeking ways to distinguish itself from competing central Ontario municipalities to welcome investment, new residents and tourists to the municipality.
Staff were looking for assistance in identifying what makes Springwater unique and strategically viable for business. Partnering with eSolutions, the Township began developing an Economic Development Marketing Plan (EDMP) to address the question "Why should I visit, move to or bring my business to the Township of Springwater?"
Through an extensive research process that included internal survey distribution, an audience mapping session, a thorough SWOT analysis and meetings with the Springwater Economic Development Working Group, the Township and eSolutions identified what separates it from the rest.
We found that Springwater's community elements have the potential to bring in tourism, such as:
• More than 50 km of public trails, with forests, wetlands, and snowmobile and ski paths
• Multiple small communities with individual charm and uniqueness (separate patches in a greater quilt)
• Authentic, rural, small-town charm with easy access to urban amenities through its proximity to Barrie, Ontario
• Fairs and festivals that attract tens of thousands of visitors annually (including the delicious Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival)
• Agricultural experiences, open spaces, fresh air and pure water
To help bring in business, we highlighted Springwater's:
• Quality of life, high incomes and resident safety levels
• Access to educated and skilled workforce
• Township co-operation to set up a business
• Strategic positioning for quick access to Toronto and the GTA thanks to its proximity to major provincial and regional highways
• Quaint shopping experiences, with authentic area products, experiences, fresh food and more available for purchase
Using these key messages, the project team devised a social media messaging campaign and list of initiatives and recommendations, totaling over 20 avenues of digital communications and traditional outreach. This will help showcase Springwater's features to its target audiences, including a website refresh, video series, advertisements, internal communications and a Business Walk to help existing businesses thrive and understand their strengths and challenges.
Springwater Council has now made steps to implement the recommendations of the strategy through a complete website refresh and the preparation of photo stock and photo shoots for a comprehensive photo database.
Council has also prioritized many of the recommendations that have been added to its Economic Development Marketing Plan, like social media advertising and the development of a Community Profile, that highlights the amazing features of the Township.
This is also Springwater's first marketing plan, and had garnered significant traction and buy-in from Council.
The Township will further use the strategy to present a unified brand that will tell Springwater's story and effectively market the Community of Communities (which include Elmvale, Minesing, Midhurst, Orr Lake and more) to the rest of Ontario and across Canada!