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Region starts defining its message

September 16th, 2014

News Coverage:

Region starts defining its message

Posted: Monday, September 15, 2014 11:00 pm | Updated: 6:19 am, Tue Sep 16, 2014.

By Mike Marturello
mmarturello@kpcmedia.com

LAKE CHARLES — The human side of northeast Indiana, and specifically Steuben County’s version of it, is starting to take shape in a 10-county exercise aimed at determining the human face of the region.

“What we’re aiming to do is identify the human being that is this region,” said Tyler Borders, one of two consultants hired by Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership to conduct a series of meetings that will help shape the message to be presented about northeast Indiana. The 10-county meetings started Monday in Steuben County at the Lake Charles Room at Ramada Inn. The second meeting of the day was held in Auburn in the afternoon.

“We know who we are, we’re just not articulating that yet,” said Courtney Tritch, vice president of marketing with the Regional Partnership, which is based in Fort Wayne. “We know exactly who we aren’t. We just want to get the flipside of that.”

The goal of the effort is to determine the voice of northeast Indiana. Then, working through partner agencies such as chambers of commerce, convention and visitor bureaus and economic development agencies, there will be one unified message about the area developed.

Rather than adopt a cookie-cutter approach for the region, Tritch said, each community will have its own voice expressing a similar message. It will be like speaking the same language but with, perhaps, 10 unique accents to deliver the message.

Through a variety of exercises with a cross- section of community leaders, the Steuben County imprint of the region’s voice was considered.

The workshops will be conducted in two phases. The first phase of workshops, which will cover this week, will focus on discovering the region’s personality, while the second phase of workshops will center on how the region talks about itself.

Through the meetings and public participation it will help establish the region’s reputation — who it is, where it is going as a region and what northeast Indiana will be known for.

With key messages defined, people and organizations throughout northeast Indiana will be able to tell a unified story about the region, Tritch said.

“We know something great is going on here. We just want to tell our story for all to hear,” Tritch said.

The message will be told in a variety of ways and venues, but specifically to attract business to northeast Indiana.

The workshops consist of a series of interactive, proprietary exercises aimed at building and refining northeast Indiana’s story.

About 20 people took part in Monday’s exercise in Steuben County. Tritch said it is hoped that more people are able to attend the second session, which is Monday, Sept. 29, at 7 a.m. at Ramada Inn.

Though information gathered at Monday’s session will be used, Tritch stressed that it was not necessary to be present Monday in order to participate in the second session. People wanting to attend are asked to make reservations online at NEIndiana.com/OurStory!

As part of the project, a trailer has been made to store all of the data that is collected from each meeting. Anyone wanting to see information collected from each community will have the ability to do so when the trailer is present at local meetings.