Going local one video at a time
By Angela Long
Published August 9, 2016
All you need is love, sang John Lennon. And maybe a video or two. Two local businesswomen have made dozens, believing “go local” is more than just a slogan. It’s a commitment.
ReMax’s Haliburton Real Estate Team, mother and daughter duo Linda and Nicole Baumgartner, love Haliburton County so much they’ve spent thousands promoting its independent businesses and attractions. They’ve spent days driving to the four corners of the county, changing outfits in local bathrooms or in the backseat of the car between shoots.
“Mom and I had our travelling suitcases,” says Nicole. “It was ‘Hi, can I use your bathroom to change?’ when we showed up.”
On July 31, their last video in the 30 Days of Summer series was released, recapping a month of experiences ranging from horseback riding to tart eating to paddle boarding.
“We learned exactly why we love it here,” says Nicole.
They also learned there is always something to learn.
“Whether you’ve never been here before, or are new to the area, or have lived here all your life – there’s probably something you don’t know about the region,” says Nicole.
The duo learned Kosy Korner is the biggest consumer of eggs for an independent restaurant in Ontario. They learned you can camp at Minden Wild Water Preserve and throw pots at Blackbird Pottery.
After 28 years in real estate, Linda says she has a reputation for “aggressive advertising.” But the 30 Days of Summer series, a continuation of 15 Days of Winter, is something different.
“It’s not about us selling us,” says Linda. “It’s about the area.”
Nicole nods in agreement. “We aren’t trying to get a listing out of this,” she says. “That’s not what we went out searching for.”
In a world where everything seems to come with a price tag, Pasi Posti of Positive Media, producer of the series, says there’s a new shift in marketing – one that involves less selling and more sharing.
“We are tired of being sold things,” says Posti. Instead, people want stories. “Everyone loves a good story,” he says. “And they love watching videos.”
Shot on location, the 30 Days of Summer stories are short – two to four minutes long – and showcase both the well known, such as Baked and Battered, and the lesser known such as the James Cooper Lookout Trail. Posti, the Baumgartners, the rest of the Haliburton Real Estate Team, the viewers – all played a part in choosing which locations to showcase, says Linda. They chose based on activity, “not just restaurants,” says Linda, and location.
“We didn’t want to promote just Haliburton,” says Linda. “We really wanted to promote the whole county.”
Posti says there were so many places to choose from “we could create a video for every day of the year.”
The Baumgartners came up with the idea for the series while attending a video boot camp at ReMax’s head office in Mississauga last summer. A few other agents had started showcasing their communities and the Baumgartners recognized a need to do the same.
“People aren’t sure about what area they want to be in,” says Linda. “They always ask us Why Haliburton? What’s there to do in Haliburton?’”
As vice president of the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce, member of Dysart et al economic development committee, and resident of Haliburton County since 1987, Linda is well aware of the area’s gems.
“Now I’m giving back to my community,” she says.
While Nicole left home to study international development and globalization, and then sales and marketing, she returned two and half years ago to join her mother at ReMax.
“I fought as long as I could,” she says, “then I realized, there’s no place like home.”
The women don’t pretend to be actors. There are no props, no scripts.
“We’ve had a few bloopers,” says Nicole. “But as it went on, it was just us. It was just a conversation with us.”
Posti, who moved to Haliburton from Toronto two years ago says he still feels like an explorer. He produced the series with that feeling in mind.
“We wanted it to be kind of like a discovery,” he says, aware that for many of his acquaintances in Toronto who ask – Where’s Haliburton? – the area is still off the radar.
“It almost seems like it’s yet to be discovered,” he says.
After producing 15 Days of Winter and 30 Days of Summer, Posti and the Baumgartners hope to play a part in changing that. They see the videos as a way to promote “go local,” especially for businesses with little or no marketing budget, says Posti.
“Supporting local is an all-hands-on-deck effort,” he says.
Concerns that Haliburton County will be spoiled by too much attention is not something they dwell on.
In fact, Linda says, more attention is key to ensuring local treasures thrive.
“I would rather consider Haliburton God’s country than Ontario’s best kept secret,” she says. “If people want to stay and make their livelihood here, and live a quality life, we need to get the message out that this is a special place.”
The video series can be viewed on YouTube by searching for 30 Days of Summer in Haliburton County, the Haliburton Real Estate Team’s Facebook Page, or on www.haliburtonrealestate.on.ca.