City hires PR firm to help downtown businesses survive construction
As the Center City District and Park District projects move towards construction, the Downtown Development Authority, or DDA, has hired a public relations firm to help get information out to the public during the transition.
“The DDA really felt that it was essitional and critical to get appropriate and effective messaging out to stakeholders throughout the community,” Community Development Analyst Amy Schusler-Schmitt said.
The East Lansing-based firm, Publicom, has not yet had the contract approved, as the city attorney is reviewing it, but it should be approved soon, Publicom President Lisa O’Connor said.
Publicom will work with a budget of $20,000 for the fiscal year, which ends June 30, O’Connor said.
“So we need to kind of build a plan around the available budget,” O’Connor said. “So the division will be dictated around what resources the city already has in place, like they are able to e-blast and communicate with certain constituencies and if we can piggyback on what they’re already doing and save some money, we’re definitely going to do that.”
The most important part of the PR campaign is getting the information out to the public and businesses affected by the construction, both O’Connor and Schusler-Schmitt said.
“Really educating and having an informational portal available so the downtown businesses understand when construction will start, what the construction phases are going to be,” Schusler-Schmitt said. “Really getting people down here. Whether you are a visitor on a home football game day or you are a resident that just wants to come down and shop and dine or go to your favorite place for Friday night dinner, kind of assuring you that this is still fun, these are still exciting places to be.”
Since Publicom’s office is in downtown East Lansing, they will witness the construction first-hand, O’Connor said.
“We’re going to be overlooking the construction as it happens, so we are one of the businesses that are going to be living and breathing and living here so I think that will make it all the easier to communicate because we’ll be seeing it as it’s happening,” O’Connor said.
Editor’s note: O’Connor is the mother of State News reporter Madison O’Connor.