In May 2015, we started a new chapter in Decatur and Macon County. We launched a large-scale community marketing and branding effort that would inspire change, shift perceptions, and foster growth. In that time, we’ve given our community a reason to believe, the resources to share our story with others, and a shot of community pride that we were seeking. The Limitless Decatur & Macon County campaign immediately gave us something tangible that truly captured the momentum taking place.
The community’s engagement has exceeded our expectations. 562 members have enrolled as Limitless Ambassadors to keep the message alive. Along with high visitation on the new website, over 7,400 people are following the campaign on Facebook where they interact and share the positive information about our community. Not only are those people and their friends seeing our message, but through a variety of advertising efforts we are specifically targeting young professionals in the surrounding communities of Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, and Springfield so that if they are looking for new career opportunities, they will seriously consider Decatur and Macon County as a place to live, work, and raise their families.
In January 2016, we began phase two of the overall marketing plan. We continued the popular “Things to Do” messaging to drive attendance at and support of community events. We created community marketing collateral for business so that they may be more successful in their recruitment and retention efforts. Two new campaigns were launched this year and they included the Safe Streets. Strong Community. campaign that set the record straight on Decatur’s crime statistics and told of how much safer we have become in the past two decades. In the fourth quarter, CareersDecatur.com was launched to connect job seekers with the tools they need to make the next move.
While increasing brand adaptation across the community, we also intensified our business development efforts in Phase 2 by closely partnering with the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur – Macon County (EDC) and the Midwest Inland Port (MIP) on their marketing efforts that seek to retain existing companies and attract new businesses to the area.
We conducted a community marketing survey in November and December to measure the progress and the effectiveness of the campaign. In short, perceptions about the community overall are more positive than they were in 2014 before the campaign began. There has been a palpable shift in community pride. It’s an incredible transformation.
Click here to read the full report of activities for 2016.