Sunday, December 6, 2015

Branding "Life in Shiloh/Binyamin" to Sell in Tel Aviv

Last week I attended a workshop/seminar run by our local "county," Mateh Binyamin, the Benjamin Regional Council, on how to deal with the media in all types of circumstances and market life in our small towns.

It was held in Yekev Psagot Visitors Center, which is set up to do more than just sell their excellent Psagot wines. As you can see there's a small auditorium. We were given the lowdown, behind the scenes reports on how some of the Binyamin communities coped with the deadly results of Arab terror attacks and reporting to the local and international media.

We live under a magnifying glass, and life isn't dull here. Every single community has some very tragic stories to tell, and we must know how to tell them in a way that shows that nothing will drive us from our homes. We also must protect the families that have been brutally touched by Arab terrorism.

The Regional Council has a professional public relations agency to assist, and one of the more amusing parts of this workshop was when it was mentioned that those professionals, who aren't local, had been transported to the Psagot Winery, just above Mirgron, only a few kilometers north of Jerusalem, by the council in a bullet-proof vehicle. Suddenly there was a big hullabaloo, with people shouting that the road was not considered dangerous, and "Tel Aviv visitors" didn't warrant such special treatment. The participants were arguing over the need for rock-proofing their windows, also, which the government actually pays for if one applies. BYW public transportation Egged Tavura uses ordinary buses to most of the area; only north of Ofra lines, like those to Shiloh, get the bulletproof busses. In all honesty, there have been shootings south of Ofra and even near Psagot, but Jewish residents of that part of Binyamin prefer to think of themselves in a safer place than Shiloh for example.

We were asked by the Public Relations experts for examples of ordinary and exemplary life in the yishuvim so that they could coach us in how to publicize it. And when I mentioned that there are home-grown players and the head coach of the Jerusalem Lions Big Blue Tackle Football Team, I was told that nobody in Tel Aviv would be interested in the fact that there's American football coming out of Mateh Binyamin.  They said that American football does not interest Tel Aviv. (Davka, last week's big victory by the Lions was over the Petach Tikva team.) That's when it hit me that I market (blog) to a different audience.

As everyone can easily see, I write in English, although I have no problem speaking Hebrew and understanding it. Therefore my audience is either abroad (Jews and non-Jews) or other Israelis like myself.

Apparently, the regional council has these workshops periodically, and I'll attend more to see what tips I can get from the experts. But I was disappointed that their focus is so parochial or short-sighted, especially when Israeli politicians and media keep touting that we must please the outside world.

What do you think? I'm curious; please comment, thanks.


Miriam-Feyga Bunimovich said...

Batya, could you please update me on these workshops, too?
I attended the first one, I've subscribed to their mailing list, but I've never received any updates on the forthcoming events. It's a shame.

Batya said...

Bli neder, will do. I think it was in Dapei Shiloh. A friend from a different yishuv signed me up.

Miriam-Feyga Bunimovich said...


Batya said...