Perspectives from North Star Clients: The Monadnock Region, New Hampshire

As part of a new series featuring insights from North Star clients, our team recently checked in with the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire for insight on its recent brand rollout as well as how market trends are impacting their economic objectives.

Julie Schoelzel, project manager at the Greater Keene and Peterborough Chamber in the Monadnock Region, shares her perspectives below. As a region that recently completed the branding process and is slowly introducing it locally and to nearby communities – including through a brand-new website – the Q&A below is a must-read for city and county managers considering brand development.

How has your process of building brand support and endorsement in the region been going? What were the keys to success and the biggest obstacles?

Julie Schoelzel and her daughter, Emma, enjoy a hike at Dort Road in Surry, New Hampshire.

It’s been going very well. Between the brand itself and the robust marketing plan North Star provided, we were confident in how to move forward.

 We first presented the brand to the early stakeholders of the project – those who supported us financially and with their time, and since then we’ve met regularly with various community groups. The intense and often very fun collaboration with the North Star team was key – they really listened to our feedback as we went through design iterations.

 Another key to our success was the presentation North Star prepared for us to share with the public. It conveyed clearly how the brand was informed and the visuals get everyone excited to dive in and use the brand. Our enthusiasm for the brand and this initiative really comes across when we interact with the community. At every presentation, when the logo and tagline are introduced, the audience reacts just like we did the first time we saw it –  with smiles and surprise.

 As for obstacles, the main obstacle is time. We are a small team and moving forward with the project pieces (developing the website, working with local businesses on recruitment, developing an advertising campaign, etc.) while staying connected to the broader community here is a balancing act.  

What resources – human and financial – did you have to pull together in order to activate your brand? Was it easy to transfer the North Star strategic and creative product to your own local team? 

We needed two things right away: great photos of the region and a website that showcases why the Monadnock Region is such a great place to visit, live, work, and learn. We booked a multi-season contract with a photographer (Dave White) and hired Communicators Group to develop our website, which we launched (on time!) in January.

We successfully applied for a tourism grant from the New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism Development, which made these two projects possible. The transfer from strategy with North Star to action was easy, fortunately. Dave was really excited about the brand and specifically the DNA Statement North Star prepared, and Jeff, who founded Communicator’s Group, was part of the committee that worked on the brand with North Star.

 How do you see the tourism, relocation and expansion marketplace in 2023? What are your goals in this environment and what will be the keys to success?

We all know that big cities in the U.S. experienced historical population drops during the peak of the pandemic. I don’t expect those numbers to stick – many people will return to cities – but it remains a demonstration of what is achievable both professionally and personally outside of urban areas.

 Now, more than ever, visitors enjoying a weekend getaway in a thriving rural community like ours will genuinely ask themselves, “should I move here?” 

Our goal is to take that opportunity to showcase the high quality of life we offer all while achieving your professional ambitions. The keys to our success will be creative marketing, stretching our dollars, and leveraging our community, who just so happens to love living here, making our job that much easier.