Culture, community, concerts, fine food, family, green lawns, and shady sidewalks — Ridgefield is rich in life’s treasures. Now an alliance of town business leaders wants to get the word out with a marketing campaign.
“There’s so many great things happening in the town — whether the cultural, the commercial, the community — I think it’s time we let the world know,” said Wayne Addessi, proprietor of Addessi Jewelers and owner of a block of Main Street storefronts.
Addessi is organizing an effort to market Ridgefield using multiple platforms — video, social media, print — highlighting Ridgefield’s arts, cultural and business communities.
He wants it professionally done, and has gotten commitments totaling $15,000 toward a $25,000 goal.
“It starts out with promoting the cultural assets that we have. If we could drive more people to visit those assets, they’re going to come into the town, do some shopping, visit Main Street, go to a restaurant,” Addessi said.
“The most important driver is the cultural, and the second is the restaurants, and from there you’re going to visit the shops — you might find Adam Broderick, or the Ridgefield Bicycle Shop.”
The campaign will be broadly focused, promoting the entire town’s varied assets.
“We’re not going to sell anything. This has to be an organic approach,” Addessi said.
“It’s not just Main Street. The driver behind the success of Ridgefield is the cultural assets we have here.”
Addessi started about three months ago. At a meeting to discuss a potential “first-floor retail” regulation, he felt more regulations and restrictions weren’t the solution. How about a positive direction? Tell the world about the town Ridgefielders love. He spoke to Economic and Community Development Commission (ECDC) members Paul Levine and Arnold Light.
“We want to promote culture, community and commerce in the town,” Light, the chairman, told the ECDC’s August meeting.
“Wayne would like our support and input,” Light said.
Addessi planned to meet with them Tuesday, Aug. 29.
The selectmen voted Aug. 23 to authorize an account to accept donations and disburse money for the campaign — lending the town’s accounting capacity.
“That’s our participation, if you will,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi. “This was a request from the ECDC.”
He added, “It’s probably the most active and productive ECDC we’ve had in many years. They are getting things done.”
Digital and print
A strategy document outlines Addessi’s concept: “… to develop a public relations and marketing campaign that will target residents, business owners, and visitors within the community of Ridgefield, Conn., and a strong focus and reach into the surrounding 25-mile radius and into New York.”
“It would highlight Ridgefield’s “cultural, commercial and community assets and convey the benefits we offer…”
Addessi envisions “working with a content developer, we will create a series of videos” showing off the town’s assets.
“…We will work with a local Public Relations agency that will help us develop clear and consistent messaging around our campaign and secure local, regional and national press to support the messaging,” Addessi’s strategy outline says.
“We will brand our town, convey the ideal message all through digital effort along with print as well.”
In an interview, Addessi spoke of video footage — overhead drone shots, inside close-ups of Ridgefielders talking about their town.
“The videographer is going to visit iconic locations throughout Ridgefield, the commercial assets and the cultural,” he said.
Addessi used Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shop as an example.
“Why do I visit Deborah Ann’s? Talk to the kids who are eating ice cream,” he said. “ … At 3 o’clock, the kids with the backpacks, going to Deborah Ann’s.”
Too many silos
Addessi’s plan would create “an internal communication infrastructure” allowing organizations to share plans.
“There’s so many silos in Ridgefield. Everybody’s doing something, but we’re not communicating that well,” he said.
A firm hasn’t been chosen, but Addessi wants public relations professionals to ensure the effort is consistent, and doesn’t lose momentum as volunteers drift into other priorities.
He envisions at least a year-long effort that would be continually updated.
“What we’re thinking about is each month we’ll have a great story to tell, we wanted to do it monthly,” he said, “The story of The Playhouse, the story of the Prospector. Then you have the stories of some of the great restaurants in town …
“We want to get the word out to the rest of the world what’s happening here.”