The Town of Collingwood would appear to be the defiant child at first blush when it comes to COVID-19.
Residents are being encouraged to GO Get Out in different ways to support local businesses, a play on the Ontario government’s advice to ‘stay home.’
“Our aim is to support Collingwood businesses through this difficult time,” explains Collingwood Mayor Brian Saunderson. “We’re letting people in and around Collingwood know that we’ve still got all this great stuff going on. We’ve got some tremendous things to do, experience and buy that locals don’t know about.”
Martin Rydlo, the town’s director of marketing & business development says Collingwood is certainly recognized as the gateway to Ontario’s four-season playground. He says there are many different things people can do outdoors.
“Why not go out and celebrate them, as opposed to being locked inside all day long.”
He admits the “Get Out’ aspect is a bit mishievous, but Rydlo says that sometimes helps a message to resnoate.
“There are people in south Georgian Bay that don’t realize all the little hidden gems that are here, whether it be the stores, the trails, or walking around the bay.”
Rydlo says there are trails that will take people to the different food and beverage locations that are operating.
During consultations with businesses, Rydlo discovered that Instagram was the social media tool they use to market in. Working with creative and marketing experts locally, the town decided the pitch would be changed from a website oriented campaign to one focused more on Instagram, with Facebook as an added bonus.
He says hashtags profile very importantly with this campaign, encouraging people to #GOgetout on the trails, the water, to shop, and to go get out for a beverage.
“People can really start seeing what others are discovering. It’s a very much community-driven campaign, whereas more people think to themselves ‘let’s go get out and see what’s out here,’ as they provide different ideas of where to go and what to see.”
While Rydlo is proud of the website, he says the important things are the hashtags that send you over to the Instagram portals.
He says the campaign is very virtual and engaging, and Rydlo feels it goes beyond what he says is “your typical shop local, go out there and support your local businesses, without giving people the very specific details that ultimately get them out there browsing and shopping.”
Rydlo says the messaging never stops.
“You are hearing from your own people who live in your community what they’re doing,” says Rydlo. “This is very much about our local community sharing with other people in south Georgian Bay.”
The campaign does not encourage people from outside the region to visit.
“We’re focused on south Georgian Bay. It’s a wonderful micro economic bubble, if you will,” explains Rydlo. “What we found is there are people that have been living here for years that have just started scratching the surface of what to do here.”