The Downtown Marketing Subcommittee revealed its Downtown identity, brand, website and marketing plan Thursday morning at Room 108.
The subcommittee was formed from the Strategic Planning Committee, a collaboration between the Downtown community, the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce and Missouri Western State University. The committee consists of members of Downtown First, the St. Joseph Downtown Association, the St. Joseph Downtown Partnership and the Community Improvement District and other city and business entities.
Marketing expert Susan Campbell, owner of SJC Marketing, spearheaded the marketing subcommittee’s efforts to establish a unifying identity for Downtown. Research by college interns in July 2018 suggested a close collaboration of organizations concerned with the improvement of Downtown could result in a stronger community.
“I think one of the best ways to unify Downtown is to invite everyone to come to the table and get them excited about the direction that we’re going,” Campbell said.
The most urgent and important step is to create a website and social media presence. While most Downtown organizations have their own websites, a website highlighting all of Downtown’s businesses including the latest events, deals and specials could be beneficial, according to Campbell.
“When we figure out what we’re going to do for the weekend, what’s the first thing we do? We go online, we go on social, we talk to our friends,” she said. “Then when people are looking and talking, they’re going to see that and they’re going to think, hey, I need to be a part of that wine walk or there’s an event going on at Room 108 or Geneo’s has a great special on pizza this weekend.”
Instead of establishing a new brand and identity, the subcommittee hopes to tap into already existing potential. Campbell recommends using Downtown First’s logo, branding and social media presence to create a consistent front. The organization started under the name First Saturdays and created the monthly event showcasing small businesses in the Downtown area.
“They’ve already got some great traction, they already have people coming down here, so why recreate the wheel? Let’s take what’s already out there and working and let’s just make it bigger and better,” Campbell said.
The committee hopes to unify all existing Downtown organizations and while a single Downtown entity could become a reality in the future, Campbell said there are benefits to multiple entities concerned with Downtown’s growth.
“Maybe there’s one organization that’s going to work in the background that’s promoting things that the business owners aren’t necessarily going to promote. So, that still could fill a need,” she said. “But I think as far as growing Downtown and generating those revenues and keeping businesses alive and vibrant, that needs to be everybody working together, that’s going to be the most important thing.”
The next step is gathering feedback from business owners to make the marketing plan a reality. Anyone who would like to learn more and join the conversation can contact Susan Campbell at SJC Marketing, Cris Coffman of Nesting Goods, Dana Massin of Manic Snail or Tim Doyle of Restoration Church.