Without Saying Yes

In 2017, Lenawee County was at a crossroads. Due to the Great Recession and a stagnate Consumer Price Index, the revenue that the County was able to levy was not meeting up with rising cost of maintaining the programs and services that it offered its citizens.

Through surveys and conversations with residents, the County identified a severe lack of brand awareness, negative and inaccurate perceptions, and a general lack of knowledge about the services offered through the County.

  • Awareness 10% 10%
  • Understanding 25% 25%
  • Confusion 83% 83%

Challenge

The Tax Allocation petitioned the Board of Commissioners to place a Renewal of the Separate Tax Limitation on the November ballot, which would mean an increase to those citizen’s taxes. Unmandated services funded by the county were at risk of being severely reduced or even eliminated without voter approval of the renewal.

It was clear to the Board of Commissioners that it would be unwise to place the proposal on the ballot without a plan to educate the electorate on the programs and services currently provided by the county government. Citizens needed to understand the issues at hand so they could make an educated choice in November.

Approach

In conjunction with strategic brand development, a marketing campaign was developed to educate the public on the programs and services offered in the county that contribute to economic development and quality of life for residents. The campaign brought awareness about key programs and services offered through advertisements, presentations, social media, video, exhibits, and networking.

The campaign was planned months in advance and was strategically designed so that materials were distributed to the community providing citizens ample time to make an educated decision on the ballot proposal in November. Unfortunately, there was no other committee advocating a “yes” vote for the ballot proposal. It was only through involved partners, strategic brand development, and the marketing campaign that the public gained awareness.

Outcome

Lenawee County citizens continue to be educated about the programs and services that the County provides now that a brand and marketing communication plan is in place. Online content such as social media and blog posts are updated regularly so that the public remains knowledgeable on the county’s activities.

As a result of the strategic efforts of County employees and our team, the November vote had an exceptional turn out (over 15% of registered voters in an off-election year) and the Separate Tax Limitation was overwhelmingly renewed with a 70% yes vote—ultimately resolving the revenue declination for Lenawee County programs and services.