Today I’d like to introduce you to a project we are delighted to be part of: Ballyhaunis – Go Ballyhaunis.
The concept behind Go Ballyhaunis is simple; promote all that is good and great about this unique and proud part of Co. Mayo. Back in March, we were asked to come up with a simple and memorable design that reflected this. This week, we spoke to Evan O’Dwyer of O’Dwyer Solicitors to find out what inspired the idea and what he hoped it would achieve for his native town.
Ballyhaunis like every other country town has had its good days and its bad days. Over the past decade we like everybody else have suffered the effects of the economic downturn and life has been difficult. The concept of Ballyhaunis – Go Ballyhaunis arose from an awareness that we needed to do something for ourselves to highlight ourselves and to promote our town, our businesses and our culture.
Ballyhaunis is renowned as a multicultural and diverse town. There have been many pieces written and documented about its multiculturalism. Our children sit alongside a wide variety of children from other countries. Our local community groups, just as in every other town strive to make the place we live in better for us all. We have wide ranging activities and the corner stone of the community of course are Ballyhaunis GAA Club and the Golf Club, together with the Tidy Towns Committee and other voluntary organisations.
Ballyhaunis – Go Ballyhaunis seeks to try and gather all of these together and project our image of our town outwards. The concept is only in its infancy. Over fifty local business people have gathered together to make ourselves aware, first of all of what each of us do and how each of us can benefit each other. We all meet and talk about issues that are common to us and from that then has sprung our town identity. This was prepared with the kind assistance of Ronan Ward at wordbird.ie
Among the businesses that we have in the town there are a number of very strong manufacturing companies who export to over twenty five countries worldwide, including to the Middle East, South America and also to Nordic countries. We have food producers that supply Lidl. Everytime you walk into a Lidl shop you will find product from Ballyhaunis. On the other end we have small indigenous business such as beauticians, framers and home based industry such as wedding cake making.
We are first of all trying to rise the tide for everybody and generate business from the town for the town business. This is working well from our initial start off point. We have tapped into the medium of social media to allow everybody to communicate with everybody and also to act as a shop front for our town. Our brand is pictured with each individual business owner and they in turn promote the brand and themselves and each other.
We have rolled out the car stickers and t-shirts are on the way. These are designed for everybody to show pride in their town and to wear the brand and promote themselves and the town. The t-shirts and other items that are coming on line will be designed for the Ballyhaunis diaspora who like every other town are spread around the world.
We are asking those that are away to picture themselves with the Ballyhaunis brand in far off places again to generate discussion and intrigue. We are only in phase one of the concept. We are trying as a group to activate the business which is working well. Phase two then will be to embrace the wider community and the community groups and clubs around.
Phase three then will follow shortly afterwards where we are actively planning a series of events which will allow everybody to focus themselves around the town and promote the town through these events. The first event to be considered is the Mayo Day, which takes place on the 30 of April and which is run by Mayo County Council, again reaching out to the Mayo diaspora and promoting everything that is good about Mayo for one single day.
We are all very excited about the concept of Ballyhaunis – Go Ballyhaunis. As a town everybody is embracing it and there is a lot of enthusiasm towards the project. We very much hope that Ballyhaunis will be seen in a better light by the wider audience and that everything that we shout about everything that is good about our town.