June 2013

Manitoba Chamber of Commerce

Issue link: http://publications.winnipegfreepress.com/i/141831

Contents of this Issue


Page 53 of 55

WESTERN "People are so excited. It's not just Brandon to Calgary. It's Brandon to the rest of the world." JUST THE TICKET BRANDON LANDS WESTJET WITH SMOOTH LOBBYING CAMPAIGN By Jennifer McFee T he City of Brandon is flying high now that WestJet is on board with a plan to provide daily directflight service to Calgary. Mayor Shari Decter Hirst says Brandon has been without regularly scheduled air service for 18 years, so city staff hit the ground running when they heard WestJet was expanding. Their mission was accomplished when WestJet selected Brandon as its third Encore destination, following Fort St. John and Nanaimo. "We had a very aggressive lobbying campaign and made sure that it was built around a very solid business case," Decter Hirst says. "We were able to put forward the growth of the Brandon market, the turnkey readiness of the Brandon airport and a variety of other things, so that it made good business sense for WestJet to fly out of Brandon." Creative staffers developed an upbeat, edgy pitch that included a cheeky social media strategy and memorable marketing materials — Brandon airport travel bags stuffed with mock boarding passes, luggage tags, postcards and an in-flight magazine focused solely on the benefits of Brandon. "Because WestJet is known for their social media savviness and their sense of humour and that energy level of being a very young, aggressive company, we let our social media people loose," Decter Hirst explains. "These are young folks with a high degree of training and they spend almost all of their time talking about potholes and sanitation collection. They were able to do what they do best, which was engage not just the Brandon community but the WestJet community." More than 12,000 people participated in an online survey and petition, demonstrating that demand for the service extends beyond city limits. >> 38 MBiz June 2013 MBiz June 2013_final.indd Sec1:38 6/21/13 3:26:36 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MBiz - June 2013