Creating a brand strategy that would help shape Downtown DC's next evolution – from “clean and safe” to "great".
The Challenge: From a downtown in crisis over a decade ago, Washington DC's urban core is enjoying a renaissance as one of the hottest real estate markets and liveliest city centers in America. How do you communicate Downtown DC's phenomenal “come back” story to the world?
The Outcome: Working as a contractor to Cundari SFP, Michael Altman and Jeannette Hanna collaborated with the Downtown BID to create a brand strategy that would help shape Downtown’s next evolution – from “clean and safe” to great. The strategy is also designed to support the BID’s next five-year renewal process.
After extensive stakeholder consultation, everyone agreed that the objective was not to create a tagline or slogan that would compete with other city and regional programs. Instead, our team focused on how best to nurture Downtown’s most distinguishing, best-in-class experiences. We identified five characteristics that act as the linchpin for the strategy that reflect Downtown’s unique role, reinforce its “best of” experiences and contribute to its greatness as “a place that matters.”
The BID has actively promoted adoption of these experience traits as part of a shared vision for the future across its diverse stakeholder groups – from developers and planners to tourism, hospitality, cultural and community organizations – with great success.
The BID itself has adopted these attributes as the guiding principles for its own renewal process. Based on these attributes, we’ve designed a new image platform for the next generation of the BID that will sharpen its communications focus and significantly enhance its visibility.
UPDATE: The client re-engaged us to carry out a web re-skin and design of a new Visitor Center for DC and to advise on an overall branding and merchandising strategy for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, one of the BID’s signature sponsored events. In 2011, we began an active collaboration with the BID’s Downtown ecoDistrict to strategize how to design, brand and market a campaign designed to encourage and enable buildings and businesses to make their operations more sustainable.
Finally, the BID engaged us again to work as both organizational cartographers and facilitators to help establish/ map priorities and onboard new staff members within the Marketing and Communications Department. Our work helped to change the metrics by which they created their annual program plan, streamlined workflow and enabled more effective resource allocation.