The recent State of Downtown event hosted by Viva Downtown at the Cascade Theater was a wonderful opportunity to hear more about the people and businesses that help this central part of Redding thrive.
It was also an opportunity to discuss the bigger vision for downtown –
- As a tourist destination
- As a thriving shopping and restaurant district
- As a hub for local culture such as art, music, live theater and events
- As a core thoroughfare into the Redding brand experience
All of these things are possible and more – but will require a continued effort that must involve the collective whole of downtown working together.
So what does that mean, exactly? Well, for one thing – it means we must look at how we promote and market our own businesses, plus how we each “plug in” to the larger marketing of downtown as a destination of its own.
One of the topics I mentioned in my presentation was shifting the perspective from working together to promote our businesses during an event or activity, to instead promoting our downtown by promoting one another’s businesses on a regular basis.
To do this, we go from where we are to where we’d like to be:
- From collaboration to… collective impact
- From proving something about your business to… improving something about the downtown community
- From marketing downtown in addition to your own marketing to… marketing downtown as part of your own marketing
- From advocating for ideas to… advocating for what works
If we can agree that acting collectively could help us get there – how do we make it happen?
Are we ready to promote one another’s business? Are we ready to promote the downtown areas events and activities?
Can we guide visitors with ease and suggest ways to encourage people to engage more deeply with downtown?
Do we really understand the benefits of being downtown and do we promote those benefits for ourselves and our fellow businesses?
Can we accept and own the unique qualities that are part of the downtown experience (even the not so great qualities)?
If we understand that we are all seeking the same goals – to run a successful business within a thriving downtown center – then how do we move past the competitive mindset and move towards the creative mindset?
If you’d like the answer to these questions and more…keep checking back at the www.stateofdowntown.com website and look for emails inviting you to the next conversation. I hope to see you there!
Leah Goold-Haws is the Creative Director/Marketing Strategist for LGH Marketing/Strategy. Leah’s experience has included campaign development and strategy implementation for multi-agency collaboratives, corporations and non-profits as well as entrepreneurs and small business clients. You can now meet with Leah at the Small Business Development Center. The SBDC provides low or no cost business assistance. Schedule an appointment today by calling 242-7630.