Marketing, Communications and Events
Place managers narrate and communicate the identity and outward facing mission of the place to residents, tourists, businesses, and other stakeholder groups, thereby communicating the place’s unique brand. By expressing the identity of the place, the brand should invoke a sense of place, leaving individuals with the intangible feelings that one gets when engaging with the authenticity of the place.
The brand is used to market the place to these various stakeholder groups, attracting and inviting them to live, work, play and invest in the place. A diversity of tactics are used to market a place ranging from events, messaging, online engagement, street-level activation and more.
Innovative Approaches to Commercial Tenant Attraction and Engagement
There has been a gradual expansion of a BID’s role to influence the commercial vitality of their communities. BIDs can ill afford to sit on the sidelines and watch market forces shape its area of management and must be active change agents to ensure a desired business mix, optimal occupancy levels, and that the district is a reliable investment opportunity. Learn from three BIDs engaging different techniques and partnerships to actively recruit and attract new commercial businesses.
Alley Events & Activation
Downtown alleys—traditionally characterized as dirty and dark—present a unique opportunity for transforming unusual spaces into memorable public experiences. The Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) pursued a broad placemaking program to activate underutilized public spaces (such as alleys). Termed “ACTIVATE,” the initiative transforms iconic Loop alleys into pop-up urban experiences. The events feature art, music, and more in unique urban settings.
Economic Development 101 Tale of Three Cities – Cleveland, Milwaukee, New Haven
The urban place management organizations in New Haven, Milwaukee, and Cleveland all developed unique strategies to enhance economic development in their downtowns. They took different approaches (board retreat, organizational strategic plan, BID renewal and satisfaction survey) to identify their new economic development focus. New Haven focused on retail and storefronts, Milwaukee on office and new businesses, and Cleveland on business recruitment and retention.
Transforming Downtown Transit Streets
Great streets are the hallmark of successful cities. In cities that lack underground rail, surface street buses are the lifeblood of downtown mobility, and one or two streets can act as dedicated busways. In addition to carrying people to and through downtown, these transit streets are also important pedestrian corridors. Learn how Denver, Minneapolis, and Seattle are reinventing the way they do transit and manage their transit streets.
Surviving the Retail Apocalypse: Designing Storefronts that Sell
While retail retreat dominates the headlines, examples abound of innovation in storefront design, visual merchandising and unique experience for customers. This panel will demonstrate components of storefronts to help them sell – from doors and windows, to lighting, visual merchandising and more. Innovative approaches to design will be highlighted including activation of vacant storefronts and the public realm around them, and creative approaches to funding projects.
Sponsorships, Marketing and the Controlled Chaos of Events
This session is designed to aid districts in navigating the ins and outs of event sponsorships and marketing. Learn about knowing what types of events best suit your districts, when and what to market, as well as how to capitalize on sponsorship opportunities. Case studies include Pittsburgh’s “Picklesburg,” Wilmington’s hurricane recovery events and Hartford’s multitiered space activation.
Public Art and Authenticity: From Beauty to Community, from Pretty to Political
Many place management organizations that began with “clean and safe” (and viewed public art as merely a re-branding tool) are now becoming sophisticated curators of culture, and serving as a counterpoint to the homogenization that often grows from economic success. This panel explored the tools for nurturing genuine partnerships with cultural organizations from different communities in a way that empowers lesser-known artists, connects disparate communities and develops an authentic urban
Preserving Culture and Community in Changing Urban Places
Gentrification and displacement of residents and businesses is a key issue facing communities as they grow and change, particularly for immigrants, refugees and communities of color. Learn from policymakers with urban district experience how place managers can partner to help preserve the essence of place, culture, and community – utilizing strategies like workforce investment, community wealth building, equitable development, business estate planning, nonprofit capacity building and more
My Bad Reputation: Overcoming a Place’s Negative Perception
They say perception is reality, but often negative perceptions about a place obscure positive changes, inhibiting growth and success. Whether the narrative is about high crime rates or inauthentic tourist traps, changing perceptions can require a multi-prong effort. Using case studies from a variety of locations, panelists will discuss how tools such as audience research, re-branding and press strategy can highlight local assets and reshape the narrative.
Craft Data-Informed Persona in Places of All Sizes
Downtown associations know their attraction and retention results are due in part to their marketing efforts. But how do you produce content that helps your downtown stand out from the rest? In this panel, downtown regions like Bozeman, MT; Los Angeles, CA; and Memphis, TN will discuss how marketing their narrative started with understanding the unique pieces of their story – namely, their data.