Every community has an identity. When you say “Miami” or “Omaha” certain images pop into your head and it helps define how you think about a place. You think of defining features, landmarks, and memorable experiences, and it congers a reaction about whether it is a place you would like to visit. Or move to. Or start a business. Or stay and raise your family.
We need to answer: what is the story we tell about Fond du Lac as a community? And how do we make it resonate with a wide audience, of both people currently here and those we wish would join us? Throughout outreach we heard that the community feels like Fond du Lac’s image, identity, and brand could be spruced up. Simply, there is a disconnect between the area’s reputation in Wisconsin and our local reality. While the outside world hears about our challenges, locals know that Fond du Lac is stringing together a series of success stories that would make an impact in much larger cities, virtually anywhere in the nation. And while other Wisconsin towns get buzz and attention for cool new businesses, festivals, and initiatives, Fond du Lac’s story seems to continue to be the best kept secret in the Badger State.
A community identity must hit three core audiences. First, for existing residents it represents, in effect, our self-esteem as a region. Secondly, for potential new residents and businesses considering locating in Fond du Lac, it represents our reputation. Finally, for potential visitors – whether that is a day trip or longer – it represents our brand as a destination. All three groups address the question – why would someone want to spend their time and money in Fond du Lac?
[ * ] Denotes Year 1 Action Item
Develop a unified "FDL brand" across all organizations and platforms in the area charged with promoting Fond du Lac's development, and communicate the region's story with a consistent, strategic voice.
Establish Fond du Lac as a “welcoming community” to all citizens through a series of proactive programs that engage the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Promote the community’s success stories and accomplishments through Wisconsin and Midwestern media platforms, including social media, through a regional strategic marketing and communications plan.
Create a network of open space management jurisdictions throughout central Wisconsin and establish the Lake Winnebago area as one of the premiere outdoor recreation hubs in the Midwest.
Strategically reposition Fond du Lac's key assets and leverage them as catalytic anchors for redevelopment activity and new investment for the next generation. Objective includes: Lake Winnebago & the Waterfront, Downtown, Riverfront, and Forest Mall.