Diva talks about using TV to market West Bend BID

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The Diva Group is working to promote the Downtown West Bend Business Improvement District and it’s taking advantage of a couple of different opportunities including Milwaukee television.

Ann Marie Craig, president and CEO of Century Farmhouse Soaps, and Jeanne Renick, owner of Savoring Thyme, addressed the BID board during its meeting this week.

The pair have come up with a plan to double the amount of appearances on WTMJ4’s The Morning Blend to promote events and shops on Main Street in the downtown.

Renick spoke from experience, after her shop appeared in a segment in November 2010 .

The Diva Group has been in place for 10 years. Businesses brainstormed about the need for more intensive marketing with strategies including television and multimedia/social media. The Divas were awarded $5,000 from the BID last October to help with that marketing effort.

“No only do we want to bring customers downtown and get the recognition of who West Bend is, but we’re looking for the businesses too,”  Craig said. “We also want to get other businesses to spend their money and get on TV too, promoting West Bend.”

Some of the local segments already locked in include an appearance by Craig and Century Farmhouse in March 11, Jillian Clarke will be talking about Chicks for a Cause in April, Craig will team with Xpressions for a segment in May, the Downtown West Bend Association and Kellie Boone will be on in June and Savoring Thyme will make an appearance in November.

Craig and Renick outlined a worksheet for WTMJ4. “We want to use different tactics to give people something to latch onto to bring them into the downtown,” Craig said.

Part of the tactic included reworking the schedule of appearances from four 3-minute segments rather than two 6-minute segments. “We want to highlight what’s actually going on in the BID and the downtown including the Farmers’ Market, Music on Main, and Germanfest,” said Craig.

Husar suggested the Diva focus on “things that would bring people downtown including diversity of restaurants and multiple museums including MOWA and the Historical Society.”

Part of the marketing will also include a step towards marketing via social media/Facebook and a BID webpage. “Judy Steffes would also be a good option and her http://www.washingtoncountyinsider.com page,” Renick said. “She’s already down here doing the work and has a strong following.

Craig said the impetus behind the marketing push came from a contact she had with a vendor in Wisconsin. “Someone in Cedarburg aggressively courted Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm & Shop on Washington Island to open her business in Cedarburg,” said Craig.  “The exact words were ‘we will do whatever it takes to get you into our city.’ Who do we have doing that for West Bend?”

BID board member Wayne Kainz, owner of Riverside Brewery, praised the Diva and its events. “We always see an uptick in our traffic,” he said.

Other items from the Jan. 12 BID Board included:

-Reelection of board officers included President Mike Husar, Vice President Larry Porter and Secretary Lauri Gundrum.

-An survey regarding the lights around the buildings in the downtown was discussed and the item tabled as other discussions are being held with regard to fixing and possibly financing the lights.

-There was a brief discussion about Main Street improvements and streetscape. Both Husar and board member Tony Jasen agreed the strategic planning committee should start meeting again to get the project moving forward.

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