The City of Homestead was a big winner recently with an impressive showing at the prestigious National City-County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA) Savvy Competition 2014. The multi-pronged marketing effort put forth by the City to promote the Homestead National Park Trolley project garnered a lot of hardware including three first place Savvy Awards in Community Visioning, Most Innovative Program and Graphic Design Art, as well as a third place Award of Excellence in Marketing Tools. The annual contest receives hundreds of entries from municipal governments from all over the country.
The Homestead National Parks Trolley project, spearheaded by Vice-Mayor Stephen R. Shelley, is a joint venture between the City of Homestead, the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) that facilitates visitorship to area national parks by offering a free ranger-guided trolley tour to and from the city’s historic downtown district.
The program, which is back this year from November 22 to the end of April, is a highly successful and innovative collaboration that provides the only public transportation to the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. This free weekend service offers a popular and educational program while promoting eco-tourism and Homestead’s historic downtown.
The dynamic multi-media, bi-lingual campaign that was selected for the awards was instrumental for informing residents and visitors about this groundbreaking service. Ridership amounted to over 5,000 residents and tourists who enjoyed the picturesque streets of the nationally historic designated area, dined at the restaurants and shopped at the area’s stores, an economic impact that would not have been possible without this innovative program that attracted new audiences.
The aggressive public relations campaign combined with community outreach, social media and advertising resulted in dozens of newspapers, magazines and blog stories that brought attention to Homestead as the Gateway to the Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. The Homestead National Parks Trolley image included a new recognizable logo with colors that resonated with the National Parks’ Arrowhead and the City of Homestead logo. Posters, banners, flyers and brochures in both English and Spanish were designed on earthy tones with an adventurous feel and were distributed throughout hotels, community hubs, businesses and tourism information centers. The slogan “1 City. 2 National Parks. Tons of Fun!” adorned the informational materials which also offered ideas of what to experience in the parks as well as in Homestead.
The marketing campaign was managed and originated by the City’s Public Information Officer Begoñe Cazalis with the help of Everglades and Biscayne National Parks staff and creative agency Multi Media Marketing Associates, Inc. The project was a team effort that also included help from a group of committed partnering organizations such as the Homestead Historic Preservation Board and the Center for Urban Transportation Research from University of South Florida.
The 3CMA judges said about the program: “This is a fantastic program that exemplifies the use of partnerships, creative ‘out-of-the-box’ visioning and the ability to successfully meet goals and objectives through a communications outreach and marketing plan. Great project and great work that shows economic development and Great initiative to bring tourists to the historic downtown.”