Check Out Flavors Of Nebraska – a Statewide Rural Marketing Collaboration

by Joanne Steele on September 21, 2010

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This month’s Nebraska Rural Living newsletter included a story I can’t wait to share. There is a group of Nebraska entrepreneurs who have a website, Grow Nebraska, who manage a statewide collaboration of small rural businesses.

Flavors of Nebraska is the result. It’s exactly the kind of collaboration I’ve been talking about for a year! Small rural businesses all over Nebraska are banding together to market themselves. They are going to attract Explorer Visitors from all over  – I’m planning my spring travel route to pass through some of the locations on the passport.

Why does this type if collaborative marketing work?

People , especially the Explorer Visitors that Marci Penner in Kansas talks about, like to plan travel around themes. Or they want to see a number of rural attractions clustered in a region. Grow Nebraska makes that easy.

A few days ago I checked out the maps at Grow Nebraska and was delighted to see all the participants for Flavors of Nebraska located on their interactive map. It’s easy to design a trip to see them all. (the map wasn’t working properly this morning and may be down a while longer according to Erin at Grow Nebraska. Keep checking back. It’s work a look-see.)

The all time best map of this kind is still the Kansas Sampler Foundation’s Explore Kansas Map. It allows me to design a journey that includes a variety of types of attractions, whereas the Nebraska map requires me to go to separate maps for “Food and Beverage,” “Art,” and “Just Plain Fun.”

Grow Nebraska’s Best Ever Idea for Rural Area Marketing – A Passport

What Flavors of Nebraska adds to my list of “Best Ever Ideas for Rural Area Marketing” is their passport that participants can have stamped at each location they visit. Visitors win prizes for visiting a certain number of passport attractions. This is genius!

Yes, to us Explorer Visitors the adventure begins with the journey, but something like this passport appeals to our “work for the prize” urges!

Nebraska, here I come!!

1 Lizzy September 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I have been to several of the locations on the Flavors of Nebraska brochure. I have enjoyed the program tons! It is a great way to visit locations that you may not know about otherwise.

2 GROW Nebraska September 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

Joanne, thank you so much for your fantastic comments regarding the Flavors of Nebraska program! The businesses that participate in the passport program are unique and sustainable within the state and we are always recruiting more. We have consistently doubled our participation each year and look to do that again this year. This year has been especially successful and we have had several passport redemptions already from travelers that have taken advantage of the program. One of the great aspects of this program is that those that redeem their passport receive “GROW” bucks that can be used with any of our participating members. They can be redeemed in the GROW Nebraska stores or back at your favorite Flavors stop. This ensures that even after a person has completed the passport, Nebraska businesses are still getting customers!

3 Joanne Steele September 27, 2010 at 10:20 am

Great to hear from the folks behind Flavors of Nebraska. This is a program that could be easily duplicated in other areas, starting immediately. No need for SWAT analyses, new development, or the endless scoping sessions that drive rural residents nuts. As the Flavors people said, they started small and have doubled their participants yearly. It’s buy local in action! Thanks for what you’re doing.

4 Janell Anderson Ehrke September 22, 2010 at 8:38 am

Joanne –
We would love to have come to Nebraska. Our state is full of amazing small, green sustainable businesses that offer a truly unique experience. Thank you for comments on the Flavors of Nebraska Project.

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