Planning the Message
Here a Paul; there a Paul; everywhere a Paul! The Paul Bunyan theme park, the Paul Bunyan Trail, the Paul Bunyan Expressway, various businesses named after Paul… even radio ads featuring the ‘voice’ of Paul Bunyan.
It can be confusing. There’s no question about that!
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway is “just another Paul” to a lot of people. When our ‘Paul’, aka Wayne Chamberlain, dons his custom-designed loggerly stunning lumberjack costume and waves to the crowd from his Logging Camp parade float, do the people waving back know he represents the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway? Do they know what the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway is?
In today’s society, according to America’s Byways newsletter, Vistas, people are confronted with hundreds of messages and images every single day! We are a society that relies on these messages and images to help us make decisions. In fact, among marketers, it’s common knowledge that the average person has to see a message 6 or 7 times before he or she will remember it.
Consider all the things that have already been done by the PBSBA. Although the information has easily been out in various media well over six or seven times, many people living right here, even on the Byway route itself, still don’t know about the Byway or its projects.
Since its official designation in June of 1998, the PBSBA has been active in a wide variety of areas from paved shoulder biking trails to creating hiking trails to developing the popular Birds of the Byway brochure. There are Byway playing cards hightlighting sites of historic and cultural significance and Byway oil paintings and prints. The group established a Corridor Management Plan, produced tear-off maps of the Byway area, built a Gateway Gazebo, developed a website, submits a monthly column in both the Dispatch and the Echo. The Byway is the site of the September 27th fund raiser for the Mounted Eagles’ Walk ‘N Roll, and it will be an optional fall color drive route for the Lakers Car Club Fall Leaf Run.
Many of these projects have helped bring to life the story of how our Byway resources and sites have been used by people in the past and how they are being used by you and me today.
Many stories are still waiting to be told or are just now unfolding.
Building awareness of all this is a job as big as Paul himself! The right message or theme can help.
The PBSBA is currently working on establishing that theme. Through a National Scenic Byways Program grant with local match funding from U of M’s Central Region Partnership, the PBSBA will develop an Interpretive Plan that has, as one of its key components, determining the message or theme of the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway.
Work on this important aspect of the Byway planning will be completed this winter.
You can help. Tell us what you think. What message would most easily and clearly set the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway apart from the confusing array of other Paul Bunyan entities and encapsulate the important characteristics of the Byway’s 54 mile route? Submit your thoughts by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send to PO Box 401, Pequot Lakes, MN 56472