Supported by local business sponsorships
Okanogan County is teaming up with a video production company to create five short videos that highlight aspects of living and working in the county.
The videos will most likely encompass a welcome/introduction, education, health services, tourism, and economic development and quality of life — a video tour of the county. Each video will be about one minute long.
CGI Communications is currently working on scripts based on discussions with county elected officials and staff and on websites such as the Okanogan Country tourism website. Scripts will be submitted to the county commissioners for review, according to CGI Production Manager Eric Foit, who described the process to the commissioners at the end of June.
The commissioners provided input on the script and locations for filming this week, reinforcing the more local perspective.
Once the scripts have been approved, the county will propose a list of sites for filming that showcase topics in the script. The videos generally feature aerial footage and incorporate still photos.
All three commissioners will appear in the welcome. Among the subjects to be highlighted in the welcome video are agriculture, the county’s resource-based economy, outdoor recreation and tourism, and abundant sunshine.
The segment on education will showcase all school districts and the nursing program at Wenatchee Valley College. Other possible topics include a focus on Pateros as a gateway to both the Methow Valley and the Okanogan Valley and the scenic drive to the Canadian border, CGI Marketing Associate Samantha Joslyn said in an interview last week.
The video on health care will highlight the three hospitals and mental health resources at Okanogan Behavioral Healthcare.
The videos are free to counties and cities. The videos are supported by business sponsorships — CGI charges businesses to advertise on their site, generally ranging from $1,000 to $6,500. Ads for nonprofits are free. Even if businesses don’t advertise, the videos are still free, CGI Vice President of Marketing Nicole Rongo said when she introduced the program to the commissioners in February.
The videos are an attractive way to promote the county and to supplement existing tourism marketing, Okanogan County Commissioner Andy Hover said last week. The focus on county government, schools and health care will provide information people need if they’re considering relocating, he said. The videos can also be a recruitment tool for businesses.
The videos are one more way for the county to highlight its attributes, since today people look online for so much information, Rongo said.
The videos will be linked on the county’s website, which is in the process of being revamped.
County, city partnerships
Rongo explained that some 300 counties around the country have already partnered with the New York-based company. The National Association of Counties (NACo) has helped connect its members with CGI’s services.
NACo featured a session on the CGI marketing opportunity at its annual conference in 2017. The description said “CGI Communications, Inc. provides counties with innovative marketing solutions to position them for success in today’s digital age. CGI’s no-cost marketing programs help counties welcome future families, promote tourism, recruit new business and showcase quality of life through engaging online video content.”
CGI also has agreements with the United States Conference of Mayors and National League of Cities, CGI Vice President of Sales Eric Winegard said in an interview.
CGI’s program, which has been around for about 30 years, is a way for small cities and counties without the budget or expertise to create professional videos to promote their attributes, Winegard said.
“Here’s the beauty for a city or county government — we offer our services for free. We offer anything and everything that community is doing to promote itself” for people visiting or thinking about relocating, he said.
Several Washington counties have signed on to the service; Kittitas County’s videos are already live on the county’s website, Foit said.
Business sponsors get a logo and a link to their website on the page with the county videos. At higher sponsorship levels, the businesses can have CGI make a video about their services, Winegard said. Sponsorships don’t give the businesses any special coverage in the county videos, he said.
The commissioners sent a letter to business owners in early March describing the new partnership. The videos will highlight “everything Okanogan has to offer residents, visitors, and business owners,” they said in the letter.
The video tour will encourage viewers to “learn more about area attractions, quality of life, economic development opportunities, and the businesses supporting the program,” according to the commissioners’ letter. CGI will follow up with businesses later in the summer, Joslyn said.
Three days of filming are scheduled to start Aug. 19. Editing the videos takes six to 13 weeks, so they won’t be finished until the fall, Joslyn said.
Sample videos can be viewed at http://www.cgicompany.com. The Kittitas County videos can be accessed through the county’s website at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us. Look for the “play” arrow for the video tour near the bottom.