Branding Your Downtown Main Street as a Destination
It’s time to start thinking about your downtown main street in a whole new way. People are longing for a closeness in their community that is creating a desire for a strong downtown core—a place where people can gather, shop and eat on a regular basis. More importantly, the charm of small town main street’s are bringing businesses, driving tourism and making an economic impact. Want to take things to the next level? Here are four steps to get started with branding your downtown main street.
It’s About a Downtown Revitalization
The process of creating a brand is two-fold…it starts with a strong brand strategy that considers economic development and unifies your city. The last thing you want to do is develop and then promote a brand that divides your city and your merchants. Make sure your branding process is inclusive of all the stakeholders so they are part of the experience from the beginning, and understand the important role they play in the process.
Think Like a Destination Brand
As you make your way through the branding process, keep your finger on the pulse of the sentiment of your downtown main street. Focus on personal interviews, social media monitoring, and take a close and honest look at how your proposed brand aligns with the true experience of shoppers, tourists, businesses and locals. Make sure you can live your brand without fail. And don’t be afraid to take your cues from some of the best in destination branding…the goal is to create a sense of place, focusing on the experience and building brand loyalty…just like any other destination.
More Than Just a Pretty Face
While your visual brand is important…the best main street campaigns are a living breathing downtown brand identity that provides value-added experiences to drive repeat business. Creating a unique downtown brand identity can be easy when you focus on the attractions offered downtown and incorporate those into your brand strategy. That being said, make sure you invest in the initial steps we listed above before starting your visual brand identity. They will serve as the guiding principles for choosing your logo and positioning.
Live Your Brand
Once your visual brand is developed it’s time bring your brand to life! The key to introducing new visitors to your downtown main street is to educate them on a unique part of the community. Public events such as weekly farmers’ markets, parades, pet adoptions, or monthly concerts and the unveiling of a cultural mural are all great ideas to attract visitors from outside the area, and locals too! (We all know that community pride is at its highest during holidays like 4th of July or Christmas!). Take some time to consider what is special to your community and what you want to display. These events offer a unique experience, which is great for retaining previous visitors or introducing newcomers to other amenities such as the restaurants, shopping, bars, and experiences that will drive their return. Remember it’s important to always be authentic and highlight what is unique about your downtown main street.
Your downtown is the heart and soul of your community, take the time to treat it that way!