Lake Orion DDA begins branding strategy

By Susan Carroll

Review Writer

The Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority is working on a formal branding marketing campaign.

Last Thursday, the DDA started the process by meeting with several community business members in a brainstorming session seeking ideas on how to market the Lake Orion area.

The DDA plans to promote the town and plans on doing so by developing a strategic plan that determines what the core values are: identifying the campaign’s mission and vision and how to pull that all together to help the downtown businesses succeed, said Jordan Knudsen of Knude Products.

Knudsen is one of the business owners taking part in the branding committee, along with Drew Ciora of Lockhart’s BBQ, DDA Executive Director Molly LaLone, Village Manager Joe Young, Advertising Director Eric Lewis of Sherman Publications, General Manager Mark Smith of Fork ‘n Pint and Pam Belding of the DDA.

Their mission is to bring people into Lake Orion, to keep residents happy and to have a thriving economy.

They plan to operate and manage the downtown using the 4 Point Main Street Approach, addressing organization, promotion, economic restructuring and design.

Their vision is to attract and keep customers and to increase and maintain property values.

And the plan is not short term, they are looking ahead to where the town should be in five to ten years and to identify those goals and the methods on how to get there.

The five-year goal is to become a Great American Main Street Community and the ten-year goal is being an All-American City that is “one of Michigan’s most cherished small towns with a thriving business district, proud residents and a reputation as a top regional destination.”

The Main Street America website states, “Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.”

The All-America City Award was developed in 1949 and more than 600 communities have been named an All-American City. The award identifies the communities that band together and identify and solve challenges in their communities.

The aspiration is to put Lake Orion on the map, to have people – families – think of Lake Orion as a destination.

The lakes, parks and trails offer health- minded people a fun adventure; along with having a walkable historic downtown, gives the branding committee a wealth of material to work with.

To bring people downtown, the DDA wants to strategically plan to recruit business that will complement the areas unique and diverse shopping, dining and personal services.

They need to develop adequate parking and signage. The current businesses enhance: Experience Lake Orion Where Living is a Vacation;Live. Work. Play; and Dine. Listen. Discover.

Social media, print media, you tube, radio and web banners are important avenues to help get the word out. The print media will include Lake Orion Magazine, Sherman Publications and direct mail. The DDA will incorporate youtube and radio avenues.

They plan on utilizing Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtags #DestinationLakeOrion and #ExperienceLakeOrion, posting one to three times per day on all platforms, at an estimated frequency of five hours between posts, adding pictures and videos to their posts.

The content of the posts will be articles and photos about anything Lake Orion. Interactive content will be utilized, such as surveys, asking question and opinions.

In the social media branding, the DDA plans to highlight the restaurants, trails, lakes, music scene and shopping.

Their goal is to have a branding plan in place at the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1.

Lake Orion is a fun resort town, it’s beautiful, it’s vibrant, it’s a relaxing place to be. The Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority is committed to improving and developing the historic village, said LaLone.


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