The transition from winter to spring in Frederick County, Maryland, typically offers picturesque scenery and increased opportunity for patrons to get outside to support the county’s commerce.
Flowers still bloomed and the weather still climbed during that time period in 2020, but there was a figurative dark cloud hanging over the county.
As was the case across the nation, the novel coronavirus took a toll on Frederick County’s commerce. Businesses closed or modified their operations in response to guidelines, and many of the vibrant outdoor events and venues faced similar fates.
While community leaders explored avenues to support locally owned businesses through grants and loans, a local company called Ko-Op Media approached Jennifer Gerlock, the vice president of marketing and communications for the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce.
Ko-Op Media offered their help by creating a video that created a sense of togetherness by highlighting all that the county has to offer.
That conversation sparked the “Frederick Strong” campaign that was designed to support businesses, instill consumer confidence and inspire unity as the community continues to navigate uncertain times.
“People aren’t going to respond without the corresponding PR and marketing communication that says ‘We’ve done what we need to do to protect your safety,’” said Rick Weldon, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.
“That is always what Frederick Strong was about,” Weldon said. “Do the work behind the scenes, and then use social media and the amazing reach and influence of social media tools and marketing collateral to communicate that message to the public.”
Weldon viewed the pandemic and its impact on the economy on an 80-20 scale. Twenty percent involves the safe practices businesses have to adopt to reopen safely according to the state’s guidelines.
And the other 80 percent is the confidence for employees to return to work and for consumers to reemerge and re-engage with area businesses on whatever level they’re comfortable with.
“Frederick Strong” aims to create that confidence. Videos, social media imagery, logos, posters and zoom backgrounds are available for download on the campaign’s website for any businesses and consumers to use, free of cost.
The tagline “Frederick Strong” encapsulates the community pride that was a driving force behind the campaign. Ko-Op Media donated the video. Octavo Designs — another local company — created the branding and website. Orases, a local software company, is contributing the hosting capacity for the website.
“The only motivation behind it was, ‘What can we do when we’re ready to help the community?” Gerlock said. “It was a labor of love for the community.”
“Frederick Strong” is an all-inclusive initiative that doesn’t directly benefit any one entity. As Gerlock summed it up, it’s a temporary rallying cry to help people persist and to have hope as the community slowly returns to some level of normalcy.
“Hopefully some motivation to show hope in their actions to spotlight what other people are doing,” Gerlock said. “It’s about confidence that we’ll get through this. It’s about confidence that our businesses, if we support them, are stronger.”