Strategies and Plans

Advancing Places: Strategic Visioning & Work Plan Management

Building and implementing a strategic plan that aligns with your organizational values can be one of the biggest challenges for an organization. In the world of place management, the process is made even more complex by the presence of a variety of stakeholders, outside factors and limited resources. Where should you begin? What tools should you use?

Not Magic – Realistic Steps to Excellent Event Branding

Learn a step-by-step process for event branding that you can apply to your own projects right away. Learn how to dive into design thinking from a place manager’s perspective, offering support and consideration of details like incorporating sponsors, creating cohesive looks across several events and place branding vs. event branding. 

Telling Your Story – Post-Pandemic PR & Marketing Strategies

UPMOs place many resources, time and emphasis on owned and paid media because they are trackable and can be done cheaply. However, earned media, secured through public relations efforts, will not only drive brand awareness, ticket sales and word of mouth, it can also result in a transformative economic impact for your downtown or main street.

Advancing Places: Downtown Recovery Strategies and Storytelling

Downtown leaders and marketing professionals around the world have been exploring new recovery strategies and storytelling. The depth and range of techniques used to elevate one’s district vary. In this session, speakers will share a variety of tactics from their own experiences and attendees can examine which approaches might work best for their district.

Advancing Places: Get Your District Back Online With Digital Advertising

There’s never been more need to quickly bring our districts back on track. Digital advertising is the most efficient channel for increasing foot traffic, event attendance, and sales… but only when it’s done right. Learn how Downtown Norfolk used digital ads during the pandemic to become the country’s top travel destination, shattered Restaurant Week records, and emerged with extraordinary momentum.

Crystal City to National Landing BID Rebrand

In 2019, the Crystal City BID expanded its boundaries by 70% and began the process of selecting a new name and brand for the organization. The brand needed to provide a cohesive sense of place that unified the downtown while still highlighting the existing neighborhoods of Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard that the BID now encompassed. The BID began a rebrand effort with the design firm Pentagram, but misconceptions around the new name necessitated extensive community engagement.

Advancing Places: Pinnacle Award Spotlight

Winning an IDA Pinnacle Award is the highest level of recognition for urban place management professionals. We’ll walk through two programs pulling communities through the COVID-19 pandemic: the planning of a gift card program benefiting local businesses and a public space activation offering an outdoor office for flexibility in work and wellness. This webinar highlights The Cincy Card Connection and O2: Outdoor Office in Rosslyn, VA.

Advancing Places: Marketing Your Downtown as Open for Business

Every downtown and district is struggling with how to support the businesses under their purview to provide much-needed foot traffic, sales and revenues, but the fact remains that we’re all “open for business”. From ongoing campaigns targeting locals, tourists and visitors to larger 40,000-foot view strategic planning, in this session you’ll learn from two very different place management practitioners and the strategic consultancy working with both of them to deploy data and technology.

Advancing Places: Influencer Marketing

Social media influencers are a powerful link between your district and your target audiences. Successful influencer partnerships that are authentic and adaptive can become an integral part of any marketing and communication strategy. Discover how three organizations with varied budget levels researched, implemented and monitored influencer programs in their district. Hear from panelists on how they utilized emerging social media tactics to build meaningful engagement.

Advancing Places: Creating Customer Loyalty

Now more than ever, downtown and neighborhood district organizations are looking for ways to support local businesses and encourage consumers to shop locally. Communities across the country are implementing “shop local” campaigns. Join this webinar and learn from two practitioners, one who has experience maintaining an existing program gift card program for over ten years and another who is in the process of launching a new district gift card program. Come prepared to learn from their experiences and bring your questions to further the discussion.

Advancing Places: Branding Strategies

There are many reasons for an organization to initiate a branding project, such as creating a new district, merging with another organization or overhauling dated brand material. This webinar will discuss how to approach and implement an organization-wide brand identity effort, from initial research on target audience to finalizing external marketing collateral. Hear from two downtown practitioners who have led branding projects in large and small organizations to gain valuable insights into how positioning and messaging can amplify a newly formed brand strategy.

Authentic Influence: Evolving Social Media Tactics

Social media influencers can be a powerful link between your district and your target audiences. Successful influencer partnerships must be authentic, relational and adaptive. Three case studies –Tampa, Milwaukee and Tempe – will demonstrate distinct models of district-specific influencing. Tactics at varied budget levels will be explored. Return to your district able to identify or expand upon influencer opportunities.

Join Grow with Google to Empower Your Community with Digital Skills  (Grow with Google)

You’re already doing great work in your community and Grow with Google wants to help. Grow with Google helps people across the United States gain digital skills to grow their careers and businesses. Join us to learn how you can gain access to presentation materials, resources and hands-on help from Grow with Google’s team, all completely free of cost.

Digital Marketing During and After COVID with Geocentric

From closings and re-openings, to streeteries and social distancing guidelines, there’s never been so much information that needs to be communicated. Join Geocentric for a brief discussion of what’s working now, and how to plan for bringing people back to downtown.

Downtown Tempe’s Micro-Influencer Program

People assume that to be influential on social media you must have thousands and thousands of followers. However, marketers have discovered that the true effectiveness of influencer marketing comes from engagement. In 2017, the Downtown Tempe Authority alongside Bright Brothers Strategy Group, launched a micro-influencer pilot program in an effort to increase authentic engagement and ramp up BID marketing efforts across the board.

Strengthen Your BID Through Branding

How do you brand something as complex as a city? Two BIDs talk through how their successful rebrands not only modernized and unified their identities, amplified the effectiveness of all of the organization’s endeavors, increased the recognition the BIDs got from stakeholders, and saved time and money – but also accomplished something larger. Rebranding positioned both BIDs to move from identifying their communities as a “place” to representing a “destination” – answering the questions “Why visit here?” “Why live here?” and “Why invest here?” No matter the size of your BID, these branding insights will make your work more effective.

Downtown Houston Market Research Summary: Attracting Residents

This sample research report was conducted to help The Houston Downtown Management District develop a “lifestyle profile” for downtown Houston. Through surveys of downtown workers and residents in downtown adjacent neighborhoods HDMD aimed to determine: 1. what was missing from downtown 2. which unique features of downtown are currently most important and 3. what would be most attractive to target audiences.

Driving Retail Growth with Holiday Pop Up Shops

With over 50,000 square feet of retail space available in a six-block radius, the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs, CO stepped in to attract new temporary, pop-up businesses during the holiday season as a means not only filling vacancies, but attracting customers to help preserve the retailers that still remained.

College Town Summit 2019 Master Talk Slides

Slides from the master talks sessions featuring Downtown Durham Inc.’s Nichole Thompson, David Dixon from Stantec, and Justine Hollingshead, Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice Chancellor / Packapalooza Planning Team Co-Chair, NC State University Division of Academic and Student Affairs.

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.

Homemade In Downtown

Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. (DTSF) and local advertising agency, Fresh Produce, collaborated to create a comprehensive marketing campaign that featured co-op advertising opportunities for DTSF business members. Strong communication between DTSF, Fresh Produce, and members – as well as support from key stakeholders – made it possible to develop creative that pleased the large majority of members, and led to high satisfaction among participating businesses.


CollaborEAT is an annual event of CityBuild Denver, an initiative of the Downtown Denver Partnership. Each year, it transforms an outdoor public space into a dining experience for 250 CityBuilders. The event is designed to educate and inspire, while providing a space for attendees to engage in innovative thinking around the opportunities and challenges facing Denver. There is no other event in Denver like CollaborEAT, which combines tactical urbanism, education, networking and city building.

INTHEGLEBE.CA – A Digital Neighbourhood Experience

The Glebe Business Improvement Area was created to turn Ottawa’s oldest, most beloved neighborhood into the most forward-thinking location in the country. The first step? Give the local merchants a strong, unified digital presence within our own BIA website. After two years of live experimentation,’s most recent redesign was meant to improve user navigation and search, provide merchants and website administrators with more intuitive management, and improve the overall experience.

Engage and Grow Your Audience with Digital Marketing

The customer journey has transitioned to a mobile first, content driven, digital ecosystem. In this new digital landscape, it can be daunting to plan, execute, maintain and evaluate a digital marketing plan. This session brings together best practices to identify and engage your audience, amplify your reach, bring visibility to your businesses and drive foot traffic to your district. Learn simple tactics that can be implemented right away, even if you’re digitally challenged.

It Might be All About the Experiences, But Experiences Do Not Pay the Rent

Retail expert Michael Berne, President of MJB Consulting, lays out the fundamentals of experiential retail, its do’s and don’ts, how it works, and how experiences tie in to successful retail. Make sure your downtown retailers are employing the age old strategy of experiential retail in a way that helps boost their business.

The Orange Gnome Project

Although the urban forest is thriving in many ways, in the Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area #33, the region lost 7% of its trees in just 4 years to disease, pests and human carelessness. During the week of Arbor Day 2016, WPB SSA hung large tags with facts about the benefits provided by urban trees. The organization also wanted to do something that would give a nod to the quirky and artistic reputation of the neighborhoods.

Consumer Trends and Patterns in Retail

This presentation shares examples of contemporary strategies in brick and mortar retail to boost appeal to consumers and create a more experience driven offering to entice consumers.

Downtown Cleveland Alliance 3-tiered Marketing Campaign

Downtown Cleveland Alliance accomplished the goal of creating economic impact for their community through a strategic and innovative three-tiered marketing campaign involving the development of print and digital advertising, the production of an annual video, and the creation of native advertising content.

The Best of Cape Town Central City 2018 guide

The Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) began to look for ways to promote the many offerings that had become integral to the Central City and, in particular, to add value to the stakeholders that had invested in the CBD in “Eat”, “Stay”, “Play” “Shop” or “Visit” destinations. To fulfill this, “The Best of Cape Town Central City” guide was created in 2009, originally published in conjunction with the internationally reknown “Time Out” brand.

Get It In The Glebe – Awareness Marketing Campaign

Leading up to 2017, the Glebe neighborhood had seen significant changes to its product mix, including new retail, award-winning restaurants, increased events and programming, and the completion of the Lansdowne area featuring a park, recreational facilities and a stadium. The shift in the Glebe’s amenity and entertainment offerings created an opportunity for Glebe BIA to re-position the neighborhood as the place to visit while encouraging all to “Get it in the Glebe.”

Welcome to Rosslyn Video Strategy

Rosslyn has transformed from a 9-to-5 employment hub to a vibrant, mixed-use urban center. By June 2017, Rosslyn reached a critical point in its evolution, where the momentum of recent growth combined with the activation work of the Rosslyn BID created a fresh, energized vibe in the community. To create a way for stakeholders to feel what it is like to be in Rosslyn, the BID launched a comprehensive video strategy to take their brand story to the next level.

Reimagining Girls’ Night Out

Oh man, Girls’ Night Out? Hasn’t that been done (to death)? Hold on a second, though. Downtown Somerville’s Girls’ Night Out is worth a look exactly because the concept is…well, maybe a little moth-eaten. If you can give an event enough of a makeover to change minds about what Girls’ Night Out is supposed to be, sell out the event a week in advance, and give skeptical businesses one of their most profitable nights of the year (at least 65 conversions on average), that’s worth talking about.

Shop for a Cause Day

The spirit of giving. Fabulous shopping. Making a difference. These are the hallmarks of Portland Downtown’s Shop for a Cause Day, a cherished community event that captures hearts while creating change. Shop for a Cause Day is designed to raise funds and awareness for local nonprofit organizations while, at the same time, showcasing our vibrant small-business community.

Madison Night Market

A late 2016 study of downtown retail, conducted by the City of Madison and the BID, entitled “Ensuring a Vibrant Downtown Retail Destination” encouraged retail pop-ups, shop-around promotions and specialty markets as strategies to support a healthy retail district. As a direct and immediate effort to undertake strategies recommended from the study, the BID hosted the 1st ever Madison Night Markets.