WILLMAR—If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a four-minute video should say quite a lot. That is what the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is hoping as it releases a new video that focuses on the quality of life within the county.
“We wanted something fun,” said Connie Schmoll, EDC business development manager, “that states Minnesota is a great place to live and Kandiyohi County is a great place in Minnesota.”
The completed video—and a shorter, 30-second teaser—will be free for businesses and organizations to use as a recruitment tool to bring new employees to the area.
“It is a gift for them,” Schmoll said.
The idea to create a video came from the business retention and expansion surveys the EDC conducts occasionally. The surveys ask how the businesses are doing and how the city, county and EDC could help them.
“One of the biggest issues is workforce: We need the workforce,” Schmoll said.
Tools to help recruit that workforce and promote the county were atop the list of things business owners said they needed. The EDC’s Business Retention and Expansion Committee set to work on commissioning such a video.
“They did a lot of the footwork on what the video should be like,” Schmoll said.
Producing a video to sell your business or community to potential workers is a newer trend in economic development. Not only does it take advantage of technology, but it also speaks to millennials.
The EDC’s video subject, quality of life in Kandiyohi County, offers information to those younger workers who are interested in more than just how much they’ll make at a new job. According to a news story from Business2Community, millennials want experiences in life and flexibility when it comes to work.
“That is becoming more important,” Schmoll said.
Kandiyohi County has already created several videos, focusing on topics including health care and education in the county. Those videos can be found at the bottom of the county’s website.
“It is easier now, to communicate with videos,” Schmoll said. “Everybody is in the digital world now. It is easier to pass it along.”
The EDC hired Torry Norling of GACX Media to create the video, with help from the Business Retention and Expansion and Marketing committees along with the EDC Operations and Joint Powers Boards. Over six months, Norling attended a variety of community events and traveled throughout the county, gathering clips that illustrated all Kandiyohi County has to offer, from its cities to the great outdoors.
“It was important to show what we can do,” Schmoll said. “Diversity was very important to us.”
The actual work of putting together a video that pleased everyone was a bit more involved than Schmoll had initially believed it would be.
“People have such different opinions,” she said.
The video could be updated as time passes. Schmoll said they want to add more winter clips to it, since Kandiyohi County has a lot to offer no matter the season.
“I think we’ll keep enhancing it,” Schmoll said. “You need to keep things fresh.”
Despite how much work it took to put it together, the finished product is something all the committees and boards have approved and enjoy. The EDC wants the video to be an invitation to people to come to Kandiyohi County and perhaps stay, to be part of the community.
“It is so vibrant and active,” Schmoll said.
West Central Tribune by Shelby Lindrud