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Firm tasked with marketing Roswell

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Cubic Inc. (Cubic Creative Agency), the city of Roswell’s new contracted marketing agency, visited the city last week to meet with various community organizations for a listening session to get to know Roswell.

On Tuesday Billy Kulkin, Cubic’s president and managing partner, and Katy Livingston, Cubic’s associate creative director, met with the Roswell Tourism Council and the Roswell Police Department (RPD). Juanita Jennings, Roswell public affairs director, oversaw both meetings.

“First, Roswell is fertile for those that wish to find and explore the beauty in art, the outdoors and the unknown,” Kulkin said in an emailed statement on what the company learned from the meetings. “Second, the community may be divided — but the core DNA of Roswell will bring people together to move the community forward. Third, there is an opportunity to engage the public and let them help direct our visitors to other activities here — instead of sending them on day trips outside of Roswell.”

Kulkin said Cubic’s scope of work includes the following: unifying the city brand, developing and executing a marketing strategy focused on the next evolution of the See Roswell tourism campaign and FlyRoswell, and they also are tasked with developing a measurable recruitment campaign for RPD.

Kulkin said the company, “is a full-service creative agency that uses business intelligence, strategic insights and purposeful creativity to drive revenue for communities to improve the lives of residents.” He said there are 21 full-time employees with offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Denver, Colorado.

In previous tourism talks and public forums, citizens have mentioned there is a divide about supporting events related to the 1947 UFO incident, and it can be difficult for the city to communicate with all of the citizens through local media and other outlets.

Kulkin said the world-renowned brand from the 1947 incident is a story with more to tell and other communities wish for such recognition. He added there is an opportunity to expand the Roswell story beyond its tradition to appeal to a greater audience without losing historical integrity.

Kulkin said communication challenges exist in every city he has worked with — and he said the challenge is often related to the communities’ understanding of the role of tourism and the investment it brings.

“Ultimately, we want to better articulate the Roswell story to the right visitors at the right time to increase tax revenues for the city to provide a better quality of life for Roswell’s residents,” Kulkin said.

Kulkin said Cubic’s staff has “a wide variety of community and destination marketing experience.” He listed Raleigh, North Carolina, Ulster County, New York, Martin County, Florida, City of Hampton, Virginia and Fort Bragg, California as some of Cubic’s clients.

For the first meeting with the tourism council, 14 representatives from the International UFO Museum and Research Center, UFO Festival, MainStreet Roswell and more shared with Kulkin and Livingston what they believed to be Roswell’s strengths and weaknesses. The group shared everything from the museums to the Rio Pecos Kennel Club’s annual dog show as examples of the hidden gems of Roswell.

Kulkin said the fact that Cubic is an outsider to the community is a benefit because they will have a new perspective and notice other things about Roswell.

Livingston asked if visitors get the message that there are other things to do besides the aliens and the group answered no — or said it depends on who that visitor talks to during their stay. Some of the others in the meeting said the common attitude is there is nothing to do in Roswell and that this idea is sometimes bolstered by airline staff and those in the service industry, who interact with tourists firsthand.

Community leaders also said they get feedback from visitors that Roswell is a welcoming community.

At the second meeting, at the RPD, Kulkin and Livingston met with Officer Richard Romero, training and recruiting officer, and Captain Fil Gonzales to discuss recruiting strategy.

Jennings, Gonzales and Romero shared the previous hiring initiatives of the RPD. Jennings said the grassroots recruiting campaign started in fall of 2016 and the RPD was down 21 positions at that time. Gonzales said local radio advertisements and a posting on Indeed were a great help. Romero said the RPD had only three open positions in December 2017.

Jennings said the RPD wants a waiting list of qualified applicants to choose from to join the force. She also said recruitment will be an ongoing process as the RPD faces officers retiring, and to keep the burden of overtime as minimal as possible for officers and their families.

Romero said providing a way to apply online and streamlining the city’s hiring process internally has also been helpful in the RPD’s hiring efforts.

Kulkin asked who the competition is, and the group answered Hobbs, Albuquerque, Carlsbad and the competitive pay of the oil field. Gonzales said lack of amenities has been an issue in attracting officers and families to Roswell, but the Burt Murphy Splash Pad and the Roswell Recreation and Aquatic Center are some of the improvements to combat this issue.

Romero said Roswell is beautiful and keeps people here.

Gonzales said the RPD has strong support from the community and shared his experience with the Community Investment Project, where the officers take the command center to a public area in the summertime.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.