City partners with firm for virtual tour videos

Published 9:49 am Thursday, December 3, 2015

The sights and sounds that residents of the Grand Old City experience every day will soon be on display for people across the entire globe.

The City of Dowagiac has recently partnered with national marketing firm CGI Communications to produce a series of online videos, designed to highlight the institutions and attractions that call Dowagiac home. The videos, which CGI expects to finish filming and production by late summer, will be featured on the front page of the city’s website, allowing prospective visitors from around the world to catch a glimpse of what Dowagiac is all about.

Representatives with the digital marketing firm, based out off Rochester, New York, have been in Dowagiac the last two weeks, doing some preliminary filming and meeting with different local government, education and business figures. They are expected to return again for additional filming in the spring, said the city’s Bobbie-Jo Hartline.

“The videos talk about what you expect to find in Dowagiac, and the overall experiences and resources we provide,” Hartline said. “Health, education, retail, parks…a little bit of everything.”

Dowagiac is one of around 5,700 municipalities in the U.S. and Canada to partner with CGI, which provides their services free of charge to the communities they serve, said Garrett Modeste, the executive director of the project.

“The purpose of the project is to showcase the community from top to bottom, in order to attract new businesses and families into the area,” Modeste said.

Each video in the project will focus on a different aspect of Dowagiac, Modeste said. For example, one video will highlight the different educational institutions located here in Dowagiac, while another will focus on the different shopping and dining opportunities found downtown.

In order to recoup the estimated $25,000 production costs for the project, CGI will offer advertising for local businesses. Participating businesses will have the opportunity to have their company name and logo featured on the border surrounding the online video player, which when clicked by viewers can display their website or play an advertisement video produced by CGI, Modeste said.

The city stands to benefit from the marketing campaign in several ways, Modeste said. Compared to brochures and other traditional print marketing, the city will be able to see who is engaging with these virtual tour videos, he said.

The videos will also help give Dowagiac a competitive advantage over other communities in terms of attracting new visitors and potential residents to the city, Modeste said.

“Dowagiac has a lot to offer, and the city is putting their best foot forward to scream it from the rooftops,” Modeste said.