More on Marketing: Relying on the State

New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development has hired a North Conway company, the Glen Group, to do marketing for the North Country. Part of the plan is to throw an event at Jericho Mountain State Park. Mayor David Bertrand said previous councils relied on the state to market Berlin, and the results didn’t do much for Berlin. Is this one more example of the same?
Chris Gamache from New Hampshire Trails said if a campground wasn’t completed by the time of the event next July they would route people down the railroad bed to Moose Brook State Park in Gorham. Councilor Ryan Landry spoke up and said the council would rather keep the people in Berlin. But Berlin’s hopes aren’t the issue at the top of the state’s list. Councilor Landry said he wanted to keep people in the city; is DRED and NH Trails working to further those goals, or to promote the state park for the state park’s sake?
The city needs to continue working on its own to change people’s minds. Mayor Bertrand was correct: the city in the past relied too heavily on the state. They don’t want to do that again this time.
I’ll be talking with the Glen Group, Chris Gamache and DRED to find out more about this proposition; look for it in next week’s Berlin Reporter. Hopefully the city will not rely on these organizations’ efforts alone. The city recognized the 21/21 initiative as something they should embrace to move forward, but when it came to marketing the talk got fuzzy. Who in the city is going to make sure that doesn’t once again fall to the wayside? If everything changes and the city is renewed, but no one comes because no one knows every business will fail before people’s perception of the city changes. The marketing has to start now, so people will come so the businesses can survive and grow.

24 thoughts on “More on Marketing: Relying on the State

  1. Even the questionable approach of "if you build it, they will come" is based on having "something" to market or sell. Going backward one more stage/step of marketing "something you don't have and they will come", is in my mind, a failed approach and a waste of resources and maybe credibility. Yes we have quality of life, beautiful views, some nice shops and restaurants, but in my opinion, nothing special to market. Just look at what Roger Brooks had to say about Berlin.

  2. I'll try to dig up Roger Brooks report. I would ask different questions,…Do you know what you're marketing? Are you sure there's a market for "that"? Can you create a critical mass of "that", enough to impact the economy?

  3. Wow,I was never invited to open a business in a community, and I have 5 successful ventures under my belt, I went, I saw and I filled a void.

  4. We certainly can't count on people coming to Berlin without an invitation. Our agency invites people here all the time through marketing. They come to see properties because of low prices. But when they "come and see" what is here they are not coming in droves to fill voids. Now that the smell is gone, the biggest obstacle the city faces is its initial curb appeal. I've always thought that if we begin on Rte. 16 at the south end of the Cascade treatment lagoon with a row of tall evergreens stretching to the north side of the Cascade mill symbolizing "the city that trees built" we would eliminate the autumn, winter and early spring appearance of the green lagoon, the floc plant, and the industrial nature of the cascade mill roof top and stacks. All done with a row of trees. Simple.The city's Main Street won't get any better until the city acts on what Roger Brooks states is imperative. Brooks states the city needs to gain control of the blighted Cote block, and the Rite Aid parcel. At this time when the city has just obtained a major grant, I can't think of a better time to gain control than when the city is in a buyer's market and the price tag is well under a million.Rte. 110 Needs some tall evergreens strategically placed also to soothe the industrial appearance of that area from Berlin to the ATV park. Imagine a row of trees in front of the successful operations of P&L Auto Parts, a break to expose the classy looking Iassacson building, and another stretch of trees in front of the Iassacson steel yard. Just one example that would compliment these successful operations that are important businesses to this area. Add a few more sections of trees in front of industrialized areas all the way to Jericho that deserve green space/trees. Now imagine the first impressions in comparison to what is seen now. Jon Edwards

  5. I couldn't agree with Mr Brooks and Mr Edwards more when it comes to controlling Rite Aid block, Pleasant Street lot, Cote building and other highly developable sites… Only two years after getting burned by North American Dismantling and having the huge, and potentially very expensive, Laidlaw dilemma staring at us in the face….we surely can't be willing to roll the dice again and trust just any outside developer. How many times have we been burned in the past? I'm sure that these projects would qualify for a portion of the 4.3 million dollars we have received. We need to be pro-active concerning the future of development. Period. There is no white knight coming to Berlin to save us. We need to save ourselves.As you know, I first mentioned exactly this at last week's meeting, and received a cool response. I am working on researching the matter more and will attempt to bring it forward with more facts and a better understanding soon.Ryan Landry

  6. Tim, Wasn't the announcement from NAD initially that they were going to demolish the entire mill site? Is North American Dismantling cooperative with the city? Has North American been cooperative with the city all along? Is North American responsible in getting back to the city? Jon Edwards

  7. What Jon?That press releases were taken as truth? Only by some, and others, hook line and sinker. But then again, it was you not I that got the visit.One plus one equals three!

  8. Well Jon,I had asked Ryan to expand on his comment tht NAD burned us. Since you decided to interject, I was wondering is all.

  9. Tim,Burned by NAD in the sense that when THEY purchased the mill site, THEY obviously (and understandably) were protecting THEIR interests, not the City of Berlin's interests. I completely understand why NAD found Laidlaw, and why Laidlaw bought the boiler. It is a valuable piece of equipment. Worth thousand of times the scrap it could have become. Both wise business decisions by for profit companies.My comment on NAD was purely a comparison of what could happen with many other sensitive locations in Berlin. Trusting the white knight who flies into town with a giant checkbook doesn't always work out. Weather your for Laidlaw or against Laidlaw, the fact of the matter is we would not be in this predicament today if the city would have been pro-active and controlled the property when it had the chance. The Rite Aid Property in my mind has the potential to become a similar problem for the city if it falls into the hands of developers who care more for themselves than they do the community in which they invest. (Again, I don't blame them for thinking that way, they are in the game to make money.)My only hope is to avoid a similar problem in the future by being proactive today. Sorry to interject into your Laidlaw debate guys, feel free to continue. (Is this post even about Laidlaw?) Nope, I didn't think so…..Ryan

  10. Ryan,Let me ask you a few questions.Which came first NAD or Laidlaw?Who brought NAD into the equation? and Laidlaw? DO you know a single developer that is not thinking first of themselves? and the money they can make off a project? Because I have always wondered how a New Your company opted for this property out of all the paper mills that were scheduled for closure, especially Laidlaw that already had a relationship with a Maine Logging company that the Mill in Maine would have made more of a logistical decision. And lastly, how did a group of lawyers, representing at least three different corporations come up with such an agreement in such a short period of time after Fraser decided to close the paper plant?

  11. Oh Tim you’re such a drama queen. You talk like you have all the answers, when in fact you sound more like a babbling brook IMO. If you are so freakin smart why don’t you just tell us all how to do everything. Oh yeah you tried and lost. Thank God!

  12. Tim,Why do you find it necessary to challenge me on the history of Laidlaw/NAD? This post is (or was) about marketing this city and my reply was not a pro or anti Laidlaw response….. I'll say it again…..I simply used the Fraser/NAD/Laidlaw example of what happens when a municipality is not pro-active in protecting its best interests…… … gets the best interests of investors…….which is obviously a hefty return on their investments….. I'm an investor, I understand that. I'll quote myself from only minutes ago: "It is a valuable piece of equipment. Worth thousand of times the scrap it could have become. Both wise business decisions by for-profit companies." <- I was referring to NAD/Laidlaw just to clarify. NAD/Laidlaw and their investors obviously had been actively looking for suitable properties long before Fraser stopped operating….. I understand……but the city should have been talking with Fraser, negotiated a sale, or brokered a deal with a demolition company who would have torn down the whole thing……and protected THE CITY's BEST INTERESTS….. THE CITY DROPPED THE BALL AND IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN WITH OTHER PROPERTIES……. That (was) the only point I was trying to make… Please discuss pro or anti Laidlaw issues with Jon…….it is entertaining.Ryan

  13. Well, I do know that six years ago, Fraser planned on closing the plant, how do I know? I had friends that worked for Fraser at the time. So as people sit and claim that they know, that Laidlaw and NAD are the big evil company, I am just wondering, was it just a happenstance that this all fell together, or was it a well planned duping of the citizens of Berlin! But then again, I already know the answer.

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