WILMETTE – The Village of Wilmette and Wilmette-Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to create a comprehensive marketing plan for Wilmette’s businesses.
“It is a cooperative effort between the village and chamber to enhance our business community,” Michael Braiman, assistant village manager told DailyNorthShore.com.
Together they’ve formed a marketing task force comprised of village staff, village trustee Carol Ducommun, as well as residents and representatives of the business community. “It is a really exciting project. It takes a village to market a village,” said Julie Yusim, executive director of the chamber.
The task force has met monthly since February 2016 and developing a strategic plan to market all Wilmette businesses under one brand. Heather Hehman, who is on the task force on behalf of Make Your Movie, has found the endeavor a unique effort to utilize the experience of Wilmette residents and business owners. “We are harnessing the expertise within our community to achieve our goals instead of hiring outside consultants,” she said.
The task force is working through the details to develop messaging it will use in a marketing campaign. “The business development and marketing effort is about bringing in new businesses but also about getting new traffic for existing businesses,” Braiman said. The marketing will target Wilmette residents but also residents of surrounding communities.
The village has traditionally set aside money within the general fund’s budget to fund business development. When the village’s home rule sales tax was increased from .25% to 1% in January 2015, the village decided to add an additional $25,000 to the budget to create a more robust marketing program, Braiman said. The total business budget for 2016 was $45,000. These funds are spent on marketing efforts such as website ads, print media, social media and summer concerts.
Both the Yusim and Braiman agree that the collaborative effort is important to the success of the marketing campaign. “It’s really important that the village and chamber work together and are going down the same path,” Braiman said. “It has been a really positive cooperative effort and gives a lot of feedback to our marketing campaign that we wouldn’t otherwise have,” he added.
Likewise, Yusim embraces working together. “The most special thing about this is that everyone is working together,” she said.