True North County

North County Incorporated has launched its grassroots ‘True North’ campaign to utilize various platforms to feature authentic stories of the communities and people in North County

By Charlotte Beard

North County Incorporated (NCI), a regional development association, has announced the launch of its grassroots campaign to collaborate with the community in changing the narrative of living and working in the northern part of the St. Louis metro region. At their annual leadership breakfast on May 10, attendees were informed that the “True North” campaign will utilize various platforms to feature authentic stories of the communities and people in North County.

“This is a multi-channel campaign,” stated NCI President and CEO Rebecca Zoll. “We’re asking people to follow us at #truenorth on Facebook and Twitter. As we advance the campaign, we’re hoping to also be able to produce some PSAs broadcasting platforms.”

NCI has partnered with St. Louis-based marketing agency, Magnetize to develop the campaign. Rebecca Kappel, Partner and Strategy Director for Magnetize shared that in the beginning links to relevant news stories and other business, resident or community highlights will be promoted on True North’s social media accounts. The campaign’s website is truenorthcounty.org.

“Our hope is that once the campaign starts to pick up momentum, we’ll be able to expand into other media channels to broaden the campaign’s reach,” stated Kappel. 

At the leadership breakfast, Zoll also addressed attendees with the purpose of NCI’s new initiative. 

“This initiative is an outcome of a great deal of research and stakeholder engagement meetings over the past couple years. You, our stakeholder, asked us to develop tools to help rebrand and market the great people, places and progress occurring in North County. True North is designed specifically as the answer to that directive. We now hope that each of you will find a way to adopt and advance this community campaign. True North is the authentic story of the many diverse communities and people that make up the northern part of St. Louis metro region. Being authentic means that we acknowledge our struggles, embrace our diversity, celebrate our successes and invest in the future.” 

Kappel adds, “The aim of the campaign is to foster growth and prosperity in North County, encouraging individuals and businesses to ‘find their true north’ within the area’s vibrant landscape of neighborhoods, commerce and tourism.” 

Zoll shares that mediums outside the community have not always been the best impact on the perception of North County.

“With the stakeholder groups and engagement meetings, one of the things that we constantly were told and heard was that people felt the community was being shaped by misperception that was being propagated through media that just didn’t have the best understanding of our community, or that the good news and the progress being made in our community and people doing amazing work in our community – those stories weren’t being heard or shared enough through mainstream media. Because that was a message we continued to hear from our stakeholder engagement meetings, it helped the development of the True North campaign. This is an on-going campaign.”

Magnetize’s Kappel shared the ease at which members of the community can be involved in the furtherance of the initiative. Magnetize has built a mechanism into the website for residents and business owners to submit their stories. 

Zoll stated, “We’re trying to do it in a way that will allow (the involvement) of others. If a resident wants to try promoting the area, or one of our faith-based groups, or any of our small businesses right up to our large corporations, they will be able to adapt the True North in the messaging that they put out in regards to advancing the message. We’re trying to include anyone that wants to participate in True North to be able to do so.”

“We also encouraged local businesses and stakeholders to use True North window clings, spread the word about the campaign to friends via social media and by word of mouth,” shared Kappel.

NCI is accepting donations via the website to help further the initiative. Kappel states, “With additional funding, we’ll be able to expand the campaign into additional channels like broadcast TV commercials, digital, transit and outdoor advertising, and invest in a robust PR strategy to share these success stories with a broader audience.”

“The success of the campaign now is in the hands of the community,” stated Zoll. “It’s going to take everyone in the area to share these authentic stories about the people, places, and progress of the community with people that they know.”

 For more information visit https://truenorthcounty.org.

CUTLINE: Submtted photos North County Incorporated announced the launch of its “True North” campaign at their annual leadership breakfast on May 10.