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City looks to harness 'Woodbury-ness'

Instead of having a hodgepodge of flyers, brochures and marketing materials, Woodbury officials are hoping a marketing consultant they plan to hire will streamline promotions for the city’s enterprise operations.

“We look a little bit like a quilt and we’ve got patches here and there,” City Administrator Clint Gridley said, noting that city-owned facilities like Central Park, Eagle Valley Golf Course and Bielenberg Sports Center all do their own advertising.

But before City Council decides to fork over $63,000 for a contract, it questioned what the return on investment will be.

The marketing plan is part of a strategic initiative that City Council agreed would be beneficial in terms of economic development during a planning session last spring.

And with Bielenberg Sports Center being renovated and opening next year, city officials are hoping it would attract more public events from outside the city limits.

After reviewing proposals from 12 firms, administration staff recommended entering into an agreement with PadillaCRT, a Minneapolis-based public relations firm.

The company would meet with each department to review current and future marketing needs, produce a benchmark report with comparison to other communities and develop key branding messages for the city, according to the proposal.

Gridley said the city must act as any large corporation would in terms of public relations as it thinks of future economic development opportunities.

“You’ve got to present yourself however any company comes out,” he told the City Council at a Wednesday, Oct. 16 workshop meeting.

City Council Member Paul Rebholz said he’s not against creating a marketing plan and hiring out a consultant for it, he just didn’t know how much should be taken out of the budget.

He said Woodbury is already a desirable place because of its location, employees and its long-term planning. “I don’t think this investment is going to change that.”

Rebholz emphasized he didn’t have a problem spending even up to $100,000 if he knew more about the value of the contract.

“There is a Woodbury-ness to everything we do,” Gridley said, as he explained that a master plan would organize all materials, pull it all together and make it cohesive.

Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said since the city developed its “close to everything, far from ordinary” message, it has helped in presentations she’s given at various regional events in terms of consistency.

“I do think it will help,” she said of a broader marketing plan. “I don’t know that we’ll be able to translate dollar for dollar.”

City Council was on board with the plan, though no official vote will be taken until the next regular meeting, and said it would help unify communication, appearance and advertising for all city-run operations.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.