As the Oakdale Travel and Visitors Bureau attempts to market the city, the topic of “Find Your Inner Pioneer” was presented to members of the city council at their regular meeting on March 2.
OTVB Director Keith Boggs told the council that he and his volunteer cadre of 10 others, who meet monthly with occasional additional meetings on Saturdays, had been operating for 14 months developing a branding action plan.
During his presentation, Boggs admitted that a previous proposed slogan “Farm Fresh USA” did not stick or “resonate” with citizens.
“So we listened,” said Boggs. “We pondered all the things we talked about; our western heritage, our graze land charm, our pioneer spirit – which came up a couple of times.”
The strategy, according to Boggs, is to get travelers to stop and experience Oakdale.
Boggs expanded saying that if people would spend at least four hours, there was a good chance they would spend the night, thereby sinking more dollars into Oakdale businesses.
“When you peel it all away,” said Boggs, “it’s a revenue generator, if not an image developer.”
Another factor according to Boggs was to develop a robust community presence utilizing the community plaza infrastructure, pointing out to consider moving the farmers market to the plaza area in front of the Bianchi Community Center from its present location downtown on North Third Avenue.
“Our vision is – over the next five years – to have several events at that beautiful plaza,” said Boggs.
Some milestones by the OTVB over the last year have been a plaza map and strategy, a Market Vendor Agreement which had never been in place, event sponsorship guidelines, and the development of a Visit Oakdale brochure and marketing templates.
Boggs showed a new, revised OTVB website featuring the “Find Your Inner Pioneer” theme.
“It’s still a work in progress, but there’s a lot of good stuff there,” Boggs said.
City councilman J.R. McCarty told Boggs that even though there were a lot of good ideas, he couldn’t get behind losing “Cowboy Capital of the World.”
Boggs reinforced that OTVB didn’t want to lose that slogan either.
Boggs pointed out that his research showed one couldn’t rent a horse in Oakdale, but could in Ceres.
“The Rodeo is a phenomenal event, yet it’s a two day event that’s gone in April just like that,” Boggs said, snapping his fingers. “We have to be able to use a brand that resonates over the course of 365 days a year.”
The Pioneer Perfect effort was to use something that would spread over the course of a year so that an “umbrella message” could be delivered.
“In all our brochures, we still plan to use ‘Cowboy Capital of the World,” Boggs said.
City Manager Bryan Whitemyer also said that “Cowboy Capital of the World” would not be discarded, but Pioneer Perfect was the marketing plan for the OTVB.
Councilman Tom Dunlop said he was looking forward to the council working with the OTVB, something that had not gone so well before.
Dunlop also said he was pleased to hear that the plaza area was going to be used more, but wanted it “spelled out” more so not to interfere with rentals and other activities.
“That downtown plaza is not making a dime, sir,” Boggs said. “We believe that Downtown Oakdale and that plaza is our ticket to the next level.
Boggs said that the new OTVB brochures should be released in about six weeks.
To visit the new OTVB website, log on to http://new2.visitoakdaleca.com.