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Archive for March, 2016

Three Ways to Market Your Community

Marketing plays a crucial role if you’re planning for economic growth in your city. And I’m not just talking about attracting new businesses though that is an essential step. If your community is going to remain successful, you also have to continue marketing yourself to and maintaining relationships with existing business partners. You’ll also want to encourage a steady stream of visitors to your community so they can patronize local restaurants, shopping areas, and other businesses.

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To New Businesses

The first step in attracting new businesses to your community is knowing what you have to offer. You’ll need to analyze your community and come up with strategies for effective marketing. Retail Attractions is your best asset in this process. We’ll work with you to take stock of obstacles and assets about your current situation, find funding, compile reliable and useful demographics, and manage marketing efforts.

You’ll also want to tap-in to resources on the state-wide level. Most states have a department to oversee and encourage economic development. Experts recommend having a liaison between your city and these allies who is skilled in marketing the community to new businesses. Retail Attractions can help with this as well, and we’ll also be there to advise and assist the city once you’ve found an interested developer.

To Existing Businesses

Businesses that are already in your community are the easiest to reach. They’re already very familiar with your town and know what to expect from you if they decide to expand. You also have an existing relationship with retail developers who’ve built in your city before. If they had a good experience, they might choose to work with you again.

One of the best ways to encourage new economic growth from existing business relationships is to get off on the right foot. Retail Attractions has extensive experience working with businesses and developers and knows what they’re expecting from a community. We can help you anticipate their needs and promote a smooth relationship that’s headache-free for all parties. Always remember to address any of your business partners’ concerns promptly and in a way that shows them how much you value the relationship.

To Visitors

Businesses are more likely to invest in a location where there’s a steady stream of customers. Making your community more attractive to visitors and encouraging new people to move into the community has the added bonus of attracting new business.

Word-of-mouth marketing is the most successful, yet it’s also hard to pin-down. You can’t force people to tell their friends what an amazing time they had shopping at your new mall, eating in a restaurant, or touring the community. What you can do is plan carefully to market your community’s unique brand and partner with other local, regional, and state tourist organizations. When your visitors are happy they’ll visit again themselves, and they’re also likely to tell a friend and market your community for free.

Understanding Key Players in Public/Private Partnerships

Public/private partnerships develop much more smoothly if all parties are committed to working with each other. A solid partnership starts with an understanding of the background, goals, motives, and needs of each partner. Without this, you can’t build trust and there’s a good chance the deal will fall-through in planning stages.

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The Public Partner

As the public partner, city government is responsible for assessing the project’s public purpose, incentivizing the project, and getting needed approval. The government typically acquires land, prepares the project site, builds infrastructure, and supplies public facilities needed for the new project. It’s the public partner’s job gets the project approved on a state and federal level as well as locally with zoning commissions, city officials, etc.

Government also brings incentives to the bargaining table. They can write down costs, expedite permit processing, waive fees, and offer tax abatement. In a partnership, the government needs to recognize the need for flexibility and compromise. Government should also understand that their private partner needs a positive bottom line and work to help them achieve that goal.

The Private Partner

As the private partner, for-profit interests are responsible for project design, construction and operation, and a large part of the marketing. The private partner also provides part of the funding and is in charge of development. They’re expected to be the experts in developing the site and turning it to a profit.

Private partners should understand that government often moves slowly and is not always profit driven. Since the government deals with broader constituencies and operates with long-term goals, it’s helpful if private partners are able to assist with marketing the project to the community and encourage local support.

Local Interests

Nonprofits in the local area often play a key role in public/private partnerships. Neighborhood organizations, churches, foundations, and community development corporations have access to funding sources that are unavailable to the public and private sector interests. If they’re interested in community development projects, they often contribute to the financial package.

For the project to succeed all stakeholders, including private citizens, must feel that their concerns are heard and that they’re able to influence the project. Keeping in touch with stakeholders lets both public and private partners know what the community is looking for in a development project and alerts the partners to any objections the project is raising. Though not all objections can be addressed, maintaining transparency and accepting input creates an atmosphere of trust and acceptance for the project.

A Consultant’s Role

Trying to juggle so many different interests can be overwhelming without professional help to facilitate the negotiations. At Retail Attractions, we have extensive experience working with both public and private interests to negotiate the best possible partnerships for all parties involved. We’ll help you develop a working relationship with your partners and draw-up a mutually-advantageous partnership agreement. Contact us today for more information.