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Baraga County begins branding effort

Baraga County has launched a branding effort with the intention of attracting more people to spend their money, time or even their whole life in Baraga County. The intention is to capitalize on the growth in the outdoor adventure industry, the increase in telecommuting to work, and the county’s position between Marquette and Houghton.

“It’s a much bigger thing than just attracting tourists,” Will Cronin said.

Cronin is an educator with the Michigan State University (MSU) extension in Baraga County and a member of the branding committee.

Other members of the committee include Debbie Stouffer, the Baraga County Chamber of Commerce president, Wendy Goodreau, the Baraga County clerk, Polly Schaefer, who works for Weyerhaeuser, and Renee Dodea. Dodea is a community volunteer who has experience in corporate branding. The committee is also working with advisors from other stakeholders in the county.

“We really want buy-in from all of them,” Cronin said.

Cronin said the target for branding isn’t just tourists, but businesses, industry, entrepreneurs and even the community itself.

Attracting knowledge workers who can work from home is about selling the lifestyle of Baraga county.

“You’re trying to communicate what makes your community special,” Cronin said.

According to Cronin the project is moving forward as funding comes available. In October, the committee applied to Weyerhaeuser for a $35,000 grant through the Baraga county board. The project has no set timetable, but Cronin hopes to wrap up brand design and begin developing a marketing plan sometime next year.

“We are going to be inclusive and take as much time as we need to do it right,” Cronin said. “This is a long-term process.”

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