County makes marketing decision on fiberThe hiring of Cronin Communications of Minneapolis comes on the expectation that next week the county will receive papers from the Rural Utilities Service officially releasing $66.5 million in federal grant and loan money.
The Lake County fiber-to-home broadband project may soon have an official name as the county board gave its approval to the hiring of a marketing firm to work on a brand name, logo, web site, and other public relations work.
The hiring of Cronin Communications of Minneapolis comes on the expectation that next week the county will receive papers from the Rural Utilities Service officially releasing $66.5 million in federal grant and loan money.
Marketing costs will come out of the county’s $3.5 million contribution required to get the federal money.
Cronin, which has specialized in work for broadband projects, will charge $5,000 a month on a month-to-month contract subject to 30 days of notice for separation.
The county’s broadband project coordinators, Jeff Roiland and Gene South, have worked with Cronin on past projects and recommended the firm to the county’s committee on broadband.
The county talked with other marketing firms in Duluth but chose Cronin because it offers project-specific work.
Tim Owens from Cronin said his team will make visits to the county for its work to ease concern from the committee about a firm knowing the audience in the coverage area.
Owens said the work planned for the county is equivalent to one full-time employee working on the project. A payment for a year of Cronin’s services, which doesn’t include costs for printing promotional materials such as brochures, would be $60,000.
South said the cost is “cheap” compared to what other firms charge. Owens said web site development alone can cost $15,000 and logo development up to $7,000. County board members said getting such work done early, with an opportunity to cancel the contract at any time, would make Cronin worth the price.
“We don’t know what we don’t know,” said county board and committee member Paul Bergman, citing Cronin’s work on broadband projects. “They know the business.”
“If this project succeeds it will be because of marketing,” board member Tom Clifford said.
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