Most downtowns fell on hard times in the 80s as city planners moved their efforts towards the suburbs. Downtown Lafayette saw resurgence in the 90s, which eventually slowed to a crawl as development focused on new business corridors on the south side of town.
The community lost its connection with what used to be the center of the city. They needed to reconnect to the arts and cultural hub of the area, while feeling pride and ownership of it.
RUSSO sought to change the conversation and remind residents of Downtown Lafayette and rebuild excitement in its promise. A comprehensive brand assessment was developed — using psychographic research of locals.
The “I Am Downtown” campaign established an emotional connection that gave ownership back to the people. Sales at its signature annual event, Downtown Alive, increased 46% and corporate sponsorships increased 33% – resulting in a significant revenue surplus for the year. In addition, during a deep recession, retailers reported that Q4 of 2008 was one of their strongest in years.