Downtown Cleveland Alliance engaged TWIST to change the conversation about downtown Cleveland with the goal of attracting more businesses back to the urban core. We built a strategy that asked if the best and brightest really want to work and play in an office park? The answer for our core audience of creative class “city savvy” entrepreneurs was no. Our target requires an address that reflects their identity.
For decades, the city has attempted to revitalize itself through slogans like “Believe in Cleveland” and “Cleveland’s a Plum”. While those things may pique interest and feel good, they offer no proof as to why businesses belong in the urban core.
How can you know what the missed and most persuasive opportunities are if you don’t map the customer journey? TWIST re-engineered the sales process and built a suite of tools for brokers and DCA staff to use in the process. We also employed an open architecture on the DCA site that allowed downtown businesses to build profiles and generate QR codes. Our process allowed DCA to leverage its networks for lead generation.
At the time this campaign was created in 2010, Downtown Cleveland was already on an upswing. New restaurants with celebrity chefs and new residents with specific urban requirements were proving Downtown Cleveland was a real option. But who knew it? Suburban Cleveland residents held decades-old perceptions about issues like safety, cleanliness, vitality and parking that were hard to break. We would have to prove that the area was the very best place for businesses to be competitive. To accomplish this, we sought a set of champions who crossed both industry and demographic lines and enlisted them to be the proof. Additionally, TWIST built outdoor moments and video content that reminded everyone of the dollars being invested.
So many businesses with suburban addresses have Cleveland on their letterhead. Why? Everyone wants instant recognition. Who wants to be doing business nationally or internationally and have someone ask where North Royalton, Ohio is? The area identifies as Cleveland. So to remind these businesses they were not in Cleveland but should be, we used our champions’ actual addresses as the headline of advertising with the addition of the word DOWNTOWN. This quickly became a movement among Downtown Cleveland businesses as they began adding this one additional locator to their address in their correspondences.
In addition to print, this campaign involved mini-documentaries that allow our group of champions to do the selling for us.