Monday, April 22, 2013

Gloucester Main Street Association - Marketing 101 With Free Posters

The above picture is what we would expect coming out of the Gloucester Main Street Association for promoting local businesses.  Now the businesses on the above picture are fictitious and not meant to be a true representation of area businesses.  We have been looking at marketing coming from the GMSA for several years and all we have continued to see is the GMSA promoting itself with very little promotion if any for Gloucester Main Street businesses.  

  We spent 15 minutes on the above design creating a high impact visual that creates benefit for shopping local.  The GMSA only markets a slogan mantra that states shop local without any reason why anyone should.  This is why we created the satirical poster on a below post for shop local.  The shop local everyone has been touting has only been a mantra without benefits.

  Since everyone seems clueless on how you are actually supposed to go about marketing local businesses, we decided we have to show you.  So this is marketing 101 for dummies.  (Based on the popular book series).  It's not our place to market local businesses.  There are costs associated with that that would need to be paid.  

  Distribution on the above piece can easily be handled for mere pennies per print.  The Gloucester Main Street Trust talks about branding on one of their PDF's where they are trying to brand the area as the Gloucester Main Street Village.  A name we have decided we really do not like as it is to wordy for one. The area is also not a village.

  The area is the Gloucester Courthouse area.  Defining the business area as Gloucester Main Street is fine in our book, but adding more words to the area just drives one to not even consider it.  Both the GMSA and the GMSPT are trying to brand slogans without benefit.  That simply does not work.  The way you brand is by attaching your branded name to a benefit.  In the above picture, the GMSA would add it's branded slogan and branded image to the piece and pay part of the costs of the advertising piece.

  How the above advertising piece works.  Each picture is a small but highly visual representation of each business being presented.  It's designed to show people what they are missing.  It's designed to create desire to explore.  It's designed to get people saying to themselves that maybe there is something they are missing by not shopping local.  (Benefit).  That's salesmanship, marketing and branding all rolled into one.  That is how you create a high impact advertising piece.

  It has to make you wonder why neither the Gloucester Main Street Association nor the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust has ever done this for local businesses?  You have to ask what the real agenda is behind these two organizations or if they are just run by highly incompetent people.  Looking at the quality of the writing on their two sites, they sure do not seem incompetent.  Potential conclusion?  They are not what they claim to be would be a fair assumption then.  Let's look at what they tell us.

First off, from what we understand about the true history of the GMSA, it was not formed as stated above.  It's a direct offshoot of both the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and the Cook Foundation.  Now here is the inside trick on how they get away with misinformation.  But first a little background.

On the left hand side of the image from the Gloucester Main Street Association's web site, you will read the claim that Gloucester is Virginia's oldest living village.  Not so and they know this for a fact.  They used to claim that Gloucester was the oldest living village in America.  It wasn't until they were challenged that they changed the statement.  But how can we say they know for a fact that Gloucester isn't Virginia's oldest living village?  It's on their other site.  The Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust.  A link to a PDF file on the GMSPT site.  here is a quick view.

Right here they are showing you they know that Gloucester is a break off of Yorktown.  There are a number of areas locally that are much older than Gloucester that can rightfully make the claim that the GMSA keeps making.  Elizabeth City, Henrico City, Jamestown, Yorktown, Charles City are just a few of them.  Lancaster County was incorporated at the same time as Gloucester.

  A direct quote from Jenny Cittenden, "We stand by the claims until they are challenged".  Jenny is the Executive Director of the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and past director of the Gloucester Main Street Association.  

  What is really disturbing about all of this is the fact that Gloucester County Officials are well aware of these deceptive practices and allow and even encourage them.  Remember Louise Theberge is on the board of the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust.  Louise is the Chairperson on the Gloucester Board of Supervisors, a clear conflict of interest.  

  It's the same for Gloucester, Virginia supposedly the capital of the world for Daffodils.  Not so.  The claim has just not been challenged yet so they will continue to make and promote this claim.  They even put up a wiki on this to help solidify the claim.  

  To be considered a member of the Gloucester Main Street Association  you must pay a yearly fee that ranges on price based on level of membership you want.  If it were really created the way the site describes, you would expect more business promotions than what is actually on the site.

Depending on your level of participation, you can get listed on the business directory of the site.  The above image is from their directory page.

 If you click on a participating business within the directory, this is a typical listing for your business.  If you do not have your own web site, you are out of luck.  Not much information is posted about your business to help you promote your business on the site.

  Isn't that strange for an organization that was supposed to have been formed mostly by businesses to help promote their interests?  The main interests being promoted on the GMSA site is about the GMSA.  The main interests promoted on the GMSPT site is about the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust.  Each promote each other and the parent, the Cook Foundation.  Our very own triad.

  The more we look at each of these organizations we can not help but look back at history and compare these three organizations to the Knights Templar.  Gate keepers and toll collectors looking out for their own interests and charging everyone else that comes along a fee to pass, (Gatekeeper) and new and ever changing landscape that must be paid for to stay in compliance. (Tolls).  

The above image shows what we consider how these organizations work as gatekeepers.  Give away a free service and you can get a ton of personal information that would not normally be shared under other circumstances.  If the person or business has deep pockets, you know exactly where to send them to get the most fees out of them as possible.  You then know where to send them to inside membre services to again continue to get maximum fees from them.  If you do not like the person or the business, you milk them for everything you can and make it impossible for them to open up.  (Gatekeepers).  Download it for free.  Licensed under the Creative Commons License 3.0 attribution/no deriv.  Commercial Use is allowed.

A recent reader comment about our satirical poster.
Why are you actively trying damage the image of the Gloucester community? You state in one breath that you like the County and support its businesses and then take action in another that likely has a detrimental affect on those same businesses as they attempt to maintain a profitable enterprise.

We appreciate the comments.

So if you did not understand or appreciate the satirical nature of the poster above, maybe you can now.  It's not meant to be anti business, it's anti triad.  The Cook Foundation, dedicated to the arts has access to plenty of artists that could easily create a high impact advertising piece for the Gloucester Main Street Association and member businesses yet it does not do so.  Why?   These 3 organizations could be making a serious impact promoting businesses along the Gloucester Main Street Business area and just do not do so.  Instead they are busy promoting themselves and collecting fees from everyone else.  They are experts at spending OPM.  (Other People's Money).  

  What we recommend for local area businesses to help promote themselves and lower their costs while doing so is to produce advertising like we have at the top of this article.  You are free to copy what we have presented you.  With 9 businesses getting together to produce one ad, you can get the ad published in numerous periodicals for a much lower cost than each one doing so individually.  Do not look for anyone in the triad to do it for you.  If they had any intention of doing so, it would have been done long ago and would still be done now.

  Also, if anyone is wondering, a lot of the images on the 3 sites, The Cook Foundation, The Gloucester Main Street Association and the Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust, all use images on their sites that were donated to them by us back when we supported their efforts and before we really knew what they were all about.  That is how we also got the quote from Jenny Crittenden about how they stand behind the outrageous claims they all make until the claims are challenged.  These 3 organizations however will not credit us for most of the images and that is fine.  We have been making the images available for free on various sites anyway and will be doing so here soon.

   So again, we say we are not anti business,  We are however, anti triad based on what we have already presented on this site and will continue to present.  There is much more that everyone needs to understand about what is really going on in this county.  Not everything is as it seems to be.

Creative Commons License
Gloucester, VA Arts On Main by Satirical Poster by;  Chuck Thompson of TTC Media is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.  Download the poster from this link.

This is a new satirical poster designed to poke fun at the Cook Foundation and it's Arts on Main events.  And while we are at it, we need to point out yet another fact.  Why are some of these events designed to work against local businesses instead of help them?  The Gloucester Main Street Association has promoted a farmers market for years and held them at the Main Street District.  Ware Neck Produce is a farmers type market with a brick and mortar building on Main Street.  The farmers market is unfair competition to this local business.  Anyone ever notice that?  The GMSA is helping Ware Neck Produce how?  Ware Neck Produce is a member of the GMSA, but you have to wonder how they felt about all this.  As a member, I would be highly offended.

  Events that have vendors with competing products to the brick and mortar businesses on Main Street, that do not have the overhead expenses, is fair how?  You have to look at all the facts and ask a lot of questions.  

Since we are on a roll here, have you ever noticed that Gloucester is a gated community?  The tolls on the Coleman bridge were supposed to come off after the bridge was paid for.  It was paid for a long time ago.  The tolls are still there however.  Is this by design to keep people out?  We have been thinking of creating another satirical poster that would read as follows.

Gloucester, Virginia
You Have To Pay To Get In
You Have To Pay To Stay
When You Are Done Doing Your Time,
You Are Free To Leave.

The toll is only one way and that is into the county.  It's free when leaving the county.

  In conclusion to this article, we must once again point out that marketing slogans without showing benefits does not work.  Paying for advertising to promote a triad organization and it's slogans only promotes the triad at member expenses.  Local businesses would better be served by getting together with each other and creating their own high impact advertising pieces and all are free to copy our example above.

Free MP3 Download.  Aisllinn - Drops of Brandy - The Mountain Kid is a Celtic upbeat tune.  Lic CC 3.0 embedded in the meta on this track.

Our way of saying thanks for spending time with us.  Enjoy.

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