Bayou Cane Fire Department is seeking a millage increase in order to be able to meet the minimum needs of the community in which it serves and protects. As with any tax increase requested of the public, the local board members are proactively taking control of the messaging. They have hired local marketing experts from Culturecast Agency to launch a comprehensive educational PR campaign geared at getting the correct information in front of the voters. Principals at the agency, Jonas Dominique and Laura Valenti, both have personal ties and connections to this cause that have inspired them to take a personal investment in the success of these efforts.
“When I was a senior at Central Lafourche High School, we were woken up in the middle of the night by a house filled with smoke. My dad helped found the local volunteer fire department, and one of our family friends and neighbors Harris Griffin was the first to respond to our emergency call,” recollects Dominique. “We all made it out o the house, but no fire truck came for hours. Even though we live two streets away from the volunteer fire department, we had to wait for the Lockport Volunteers to reach our house in Gheens, as the local truck had no air in the tires. We lost everything we owned, and we never were able to move back to the house I grew up in. Gheens is not a town with the means to afford paid firefighters, but Houma is. We cannot let our neighbors go through what I had to go through – and if we don’t act now, many will be in danger.”
Laura Valenti, a marketing professor at Nicholls and Principal with Culturecast, has her own worries connected to this millage. “My husband is a firefighter with Bayou Cande Fire Department. I am completely supportive of his choice to answer this calling, not I feel uneasy about the thought of our community sending him into emergency situations without the resources he needs to be safe. We are sending our husbands and brothers into burning houses and buildings to save our lives and our things, and we are risking their lives and ours by not at least funding them enough to train and be prepared. Recently, he responded to a fire at local business, and there weren’t enough trained firefighters to properly man the truck. As the captain, my husband and his team were not only put in serious danger when the responded to this call, but they could have been much more effective if we had the funding to train enough men to meet the bare minimum necessary to properly fight a fire.”
Culturecast Agency has developed a strategic plan involving native advertising efforts utilizing grassroots tactics on digital and traditional channels to get the message out that this millage is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. “Our message is that the fire department has identified their own weakness and has decided to proactively plan to meet the needs of the community – needs that aren’t currently met,” says Dominique. “This message can be lost in people who are worried about losing more of their income to a public need, and this is a valid concern. No one wants to pay more out of their hard earned check for something they might never need. However, as a community, having the ability to sustain our own basic necessities is something we should consider worthy of a few cents to the dollar.”
Culturecast Agency has already produced a series of videos that will be released on social media, YouTube, and presented to various community organizations. The board of directors approved the agency to move forward with a multi-tiered PR campaign that will involve the telling of a story over the next 5 months until the vote in November. “Be on the lookout for our message.In the internet age, we no longer push our thoughts onto an undecided market, but rather, we look to engage in a conversation and utilize the many voices out there to tell this story and ultimately, convince our neighbors that we are in need, that we have a plan, and that we must act now to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our homes and our businesses.
Culturecast Agency was founded in Houma, LA as a marketing agency 4 years ago by Principal Jonas Dominique. Best known locally for their design work on Beryl Amedee’s successful campaign to the House of Representatives, they are experts in marketing, PR, and digital advertising. For more information, visit www.culturecastagency.com.