Academic journal article Journal of Case Studies

Rebranding Downtown Fletcher: A Case of Strategic Marketing for a Non-Profit Organization

Academic journal article Journal of Case Studies

Rebranding Downtown Fletcher: A Case of Strategic Marketing for a Non-Profit Organization

Article excerpt

When re-hired by the Downtown Development Corporation (DDC) Board of Directors three months ago, Taylor Schaffer's task was to justify why the city of Fletcher should continue to fund the DDC. Schaffer tackled the daunting, and very public, task of infusing new life and purpose into an organization that was stuck in a rut. While she had many ideas as to what the DDC could do and be to the community of Fletcher, she felt tremendous pressure to successfully turn the organization around with many eyes watching her progress and waiting for her to fail. Over the past year, the DDC was publicly scrutinized and criticized by city officials and community members, and the DDC was accountable to a variety of stakeholders (see the Figure). Schaffer had to make some noticeable, positive changes fast, or this deteriorating situation would only get worse. The DDC faced losing funding from the city and public support. Without city funding, the situation would be detrimental as the DDC would have to dissolve. Schaffer had to act fast or the DDC may have to shut its doors.

City of Fletcher

Fletcher, Nebraska, a town with a total population of about 20,000, was a vibrant, small city in central Nebraska. Fletcher was a diverse community with major employers consisting of a state university and medical center, to name a few. Fletcher's history is rooted in the "Wild West." Originally a military outpost, it was invigorated by a substantial influx of German immigrants in the late 19th Century. Fletcher's local economy was mainly comprised of the service sector which included education and health care as the largest industries. Also located in Fletcher were battery manufacturers, an auto parts maker, and an aircraft and bicycle manufacturer.

Downtown Development Corporation's History

In 2000, efforts to revitalize Downtown Fletcher came to a head. After a dismal and difficult decade, people in the community were looking for progress to be made funneling life back into Downtown Fletcher, an area rich in history and vast future potential. In conjunction with the city of Fletcher, university students and faculty, and community members, the downtown revitalization process began.

An integral part of this revitalization process was the formation of the Downtown Development Corporation (DDC). The DDC was started in 2001 as a privately and publicly funded organization initially tasked with raising funds to purchase nine dilapidated buildings in the heart of Downtown Fletcher. Once purchased, the buildings were gifted to a local developer, Freedom Group, Inc., who renovated these buildings and established successful businesses in them. These businesses included a brewery and restaurant, niche shops, salons, and clothing stores. Freedom Group was planning on breaking ground soon on a boutique hotel in the heart of Downtown Fletcher.

DDC's Current State of Affairs

As the DDC's initial purpose was completed in 2007, the organization's mission shifted to promote Downtown Fletcher as a destination of choice. The primary way the DDC promoted the downtown area was through events located in the downtown area throughout the year. The DDC sponsored four major events every year, and they were as follows: Blues and BBQ, WinterFest, Core2Campus, and Wines and Steins (See Appendix A for a description of these events).

Regardless how long these four events had taken place, no quantifiable, historic measurements or data were collected by the DDC that would speak to the quantifiable success of these events. When asked for such metrics, the DDC was unable to deliver tangible results, and instead used 'averages' to communicate success. Furthermore, when trying to communicate the value of the DDC to various stakeholder groups, Schaffer was quick to mention that quality of life had improved and Downtown Fletcher had seen economic growth as a direct result of the DDC's efforts over the years, and yet provided no evidence to support such claims. …

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