L&A wins national marketing awards

From left, County councillor Ric Bresee and director of community and development services Stephen Paul receive their awards from EDAC chief executive officer Penny Gardiner. Submitted photo.

Adam Bramburger
Beaver Staff

Lennox and Addington County made quite an impression on economic developers across the country this year, earning a pair of Marketing Canada awards for recent campaigns.

Director of community and development services Stephen Paul and economic development commission chair Ric Bresee were in Fredericton, N.B. last week at the Economic Developers Association of Canada convention when they learned their peers has selected both the Kidpreneur program and the new Naturally L&A tourist brand as recipients of the prestigious honour.

“These are awards that recognize — to quote them — the ‘best of the best’ in marketing and economic development initiatives in Canada,” said Paul. “I’m pleased to say we won not just one, but two, which was a great surprise.”

The Kidpreneur program teamed a member of the Lennox and Addington economic development team with a local entrepreneur for visits with Grade 6-8 classes at six local schools. Some 1,200 students saw fun, informative presentations that taught them about entrepreneurship concepts. The students were encouraged to develop their own business ideas to present to their class and armed with information packages and access to the economic development department for planning questions.

Of more than 200 business ideas presented, some 75 students were invited to a countywide fair for a chance to present their ideas again in a pitch party environment.  The abstract Lennox and Addington submitted for the awards suggested that some children who don’t necessarily get to show their talents in a classroom thrived in the program.

It also suggested students learned you can take big ideas and actually do something with them — and in some cases, those students actually did operate their businesses over the summer.

The economic development department hopes to extend the program to 20 schools next year.

With Naturally L&A, the County turned a potential challenge into an opportunity. The Land O’ Lakes Tourist Association had been managing its tourism marketing, but it ceased to exist late last year. Faced with a potential service gap, the department convinced the economic development coalition and council it should lead its own tourism marketing efforts. The first step was to create a recognizable brand.

The office worked with 1dea Design and Media in developing Naturally L&A, a brand and digital marketing campaign that highlighted the natural beauty of the local landscape and all the “unspoiled moments” it supports. Paul said the branding also speaks to the good nature of people in the county and their impact on visitors.

At the time of the launch in June, Paul said the campaign was breaking new ground and offered simple .

“Our ultimate goal is two or three different things: We want to create more awareness of Lennox and Addington as a place to visit, that’s our No. 1 priority. To do that, we need to increase website traffic and be more active on social media channels.”

Early returns suggest success. By the end of July, Lennox and Addington web traffic had increased by 135 per cent, which was expected to help build awareness of the county as a destination.

Paul said it was a great feeling to be recognized from peers and standing among large cities like Toronto and Calgary and added it was particularly gratifying because of the hands-on role his team played.

“They’re both good fits and others recognize that and realize that as well, we’re very pleased.”

He also told council Wednesday evening the awards represent a beginning, rather than an ending.

“The nice thing about this is these aren’t one-offs. Kidpreneur will, of course, continue, as will our new tourism brand. These are things that will create a legacy for Lennox and Addington economic development.”

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