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Branding K.L. key focus to attract shoppers

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RICK OWEN
Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 08:00
Local News - Kirkland Lake:

This community is going to be branded

The Kirkland Lake and District Chamber of Commerce unveiled its Christmas promotion this week during a breakfast meeting.

During the meeting, kathryn Barnes spoke about the importance of branding and advertising when it comes to attracting customers.

The local business owner pointed out that Wal-Mart has 1,309 stores as of 2002 and spends one per cent of its gross sales on advertising, which works out to 188 thousand dollars per store.

The Gap, another brand that everyone recognizes, spends four per cent of its sales on advertising and some major brands and companies spend up to 20 per cent on advertising.

Gorilla Marketing says that a business should spend five to 10 per cent of its sales on advertising, which means a business with $300,000 in sales, should spend $3,000 per year on advertising.

Barnes pointed out that many people say they can't afford to advertise when times are tough, but consultants say just the opposite is true.

Companies that advertise during tough times stay in business and are visible when times are good.

She said the key is branding and that is what the chamber wants to do with Kirkland Lake.

Barnes said what you have to do is create a unique corporate experience that people can relate to.

She continued asking: "What do we have, that no one else has – The Mile of Gold. That is an aspect that makes us unique."

During the past year Barnes said she has seen an increase in her store of customers from the Tri-Towns, Matheson and Ramore and they are telling her that Kirkland Lake has things that Timmins doesn't. That Timmins is good for the basics but Kirkland Lake has unique stores.

She said, Kirkland Lake has an army surplus store, which are really hot in the south, the only Hart Store in Ontario and a really good selection of restaurants.

"Kirkland Lake is where people will come when they want something other than the basics," Barnes said.

With the Christmas promotion, Kirkland Lake is starting small, but it is something the town should do all the time, she suggested.

Thanks to a grant from the Kirkland and District Community Business Corporation, the chamber is able to offer local business good advertising rates in areas outside Kirkland Lake.

Barnes said they have a chance to capitalize on what Kirkland Lake has, but no other community has, and bring people to Kirkland Lake when they want something other than the basics.

This year the promotion will be focused on retail and restaurants, but the chamber is considering promotions that also include the service sector, Barnes suggested.

During the promotion restaurants can advertise for as little as $65 a month and retail operations can advertise for as little as $85 a month by taking part in the promotion.

Joanne Woollings, of the chamber, said each advertisement will include the phrase “On The Mile of Gold,” – a small line that everyone can add to their advertising.

In the promotion, Woollings said, they will be advertising the community and then the business.

The advertising will be in the marketed to bring people to Kirkland Lake.

When people come to Kirkland Lake they will have lunch in a local restaurant, Woollings said.

She said the campaign is inexpensive and is an add on to regular advertising.

Selling the town will benefit everyone, not just the retail sector, Woollings said.

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