Economic development is critical to lure and enlist others to come in and fill the taxpaying holes we can witness by our growing number of vacant properties around the village. Unless you don’t mind losing and not replacing the help to alleviate your increasing share of the tax burden we need to consider a plan to keep us viable. This ‘out of the box’ thinking could be a long-shot, but one I feel is worth aiming for. We’ve aways had the opportunity to develop a strategic marketing plan that could be entirely worthwhile for the long run, financially and otherwise.
Marketing is a picture, painted to conjure a vision that’s desirable/sellable to the general public. That which allows companies to stand out from the crowd, are instrumental in raising the whole image of a company above the competition. When you can demonstrate an edge that sets you apart, it contributes to the list that becomes the very reasons why consumers choose to do business with you. The same principles would apply to marketing our Village.
If you think about it, you would probably prefer to do business with companies that have integrity – those that have professional standards in the way they do business. Some examples of proving business integrity would be a just and fair treatment of employees, or an effectual policy for handling customer discrepancies. Integrity begets trust. In order to have policies and mission statements believable and therefore trusted, they have to be practiced after they’re preached.
Preaching starts at the top to ensure executives and management all the way down to the frontline employees are embracing and practicing fulfillment of the organizations philosophies. A breakdown of integrity anywhere along the line would surely damage a reputation that is so difficult to build yet incredibly easy to lose. Vigilance is the key, you must have watchers overlooking the operation and then have the watchers watched because there are always opportunities to siphon from the system and service personal greed or neglect of duty from laziness or entitlement mentalities.
We can develop and put a new spin on selling a lifestyle; small rural town that’s just the right size, just the right feel and just the right attitude – slower paced – warm and welcoming – friendly – open to new ideas – everything that stigmatize small towns can be dispelled in our own village. We can create positives where most do not. We could have as many positives that we have any control over. We can become and therefore easily sell what people are really looking for when wanting to relocate to a smaller community.
If we started nurturing fair play, inclusion, tolerance and ethics we could encourage more engagement from the community. Imagine what a great sales point this concept would be to present in our branding portfolio – Blissfield is the most engaged and supportive community that has yet to be witnessed by any other community!
Engagement means the willingness to put yourself, your opinions and your contributions out there, for all to benefit. Any and all ideas should be treasured and ridicule barred. Who decided it’s taboo to voice an opinion? When too many are discouraged from contributing, it stifles creativity and productivity. Opinions are essential for provoking thought, reflection, discussion and subsequently – action. We should also tackle the difficult subjects of Religion and Politics not hide from them. For successful discussion, there are rules to play by; ones that ensure respect and tolerance for those that have different opinions than ours. Engagement is also a precursor to creating support, what resident or business would not want a supportive community behind them?
Consider this, If I issue an opinion about something – anything, instead of attempting to just shut down my opinion by calling me psychotic, a whiner or uttering unintelligible gibberish, why not counter with a thought process of logic? Point out where I might be in error and provide a compelling reason why. Which response do you think would more than likely make me reconsider my stance? An emotional response or one that shows you’ve been thinking? Lashing out at someone with name calling comes from a purely emotional standpoint and it’s not convincing anyone your views are right. It really shows your EQ (emotional quotient) is low and you lack self-control, but it also means the time is past due to shake off the playground backpack of tools.
You cannot give qualified argument to an issue or a point based on just not liking something. “Because I said so, that’s why” only worked when my Mother said it…and that was well before I was twelve years old.
Although individuals are responsible for keeping themselves composed while offering something substantive to a discussion or debate, we can learn to recognize and/or call attention to unnecessary conversation manipulation (side tracking and condemnation) from an emotional perspective. Composure in this capacity means we are allowed to feel emotions but not let them direct our words or actions. Feeling emotions are acceptable but acting out one, like anger is not socially acceptable.
Leadership positions are no place for people displaying low EQ’s, they’re damaging and ineffectual, something we as a community or any business entity should not tolerate. Good leaders don’t rule by intimidation – posing a constant threat of losing control, nor do they use other manipulative techniques to procure their positions at the top. The best leaders have principled standards and lead by example.
If you choose to bank on what Blissfield has right now and think we can successfully market ourselves as something unique and different from any other small town in our nation, you would be tossing the dice and relying on perception. There is one thing that has a possibility of distracting buyers from considering integrity as a component, that’s a blinding piece of brilliance like providing something else no one wants to live without. Unless you’re equipped to come up with something spectacular like that, a fresh coat of paint may hide the dirt and stains for a short time, but it doesn’t change anything but the color.
In summary, if you discourage people from adding their 2 cents…you’ll never get to a dollar!
Photography by Graur Codrin