DOWNTOWN GUIDE + EVENTS

Programs Marketing & Communications

The Marketing & Communications program is responsible for promoting a vibrant and diverse downtown image through advertising, public relations, partnerships, events, community relations and other promotional materials and activities.

Primary Objectives


Overarching goal: Position Downtown as a place with BIG personality that embraces everything people love about Houston.

  • Establish Downtown as the preferred destination to live, work and play through a proactive advertising and branding campaign
  • Raise awareness and generate ongoing positive media coverage for downtown and the Downtown District
  • Create a work, live and fun environment where people enjoy the urban lifestyle with an interesting, exciting and inspiring range of activities and experiences.
  • Provide effective and useful tools such as the newly re-developed web portal, weekly email blasts and comprehensive marketing materials
  • Reinforce that Downown is a friendly, easily-accessible, affordable and safe destination, both day and night

Advertising


In fall of 2018, the Downtown District launched a new advertising and branding campaign called Meet Downtown

Why are we doing this?

Downtown is constantly changing and growing. In the last five years we’ve seen a surge in the availability of cool and unique lofts and apartments, development of lush and active parks, completion of easy transportation and the continued growth of a diverse and vibrant arts and culture community.

With things to do and see around every corner, it’s undeniable. Downtown is a good place to be and we want more Houstonians to know that. We want visitors to know that. We want everyone to feel proud of the things that are here and excited for what’s to come.

 

Downtown with a capital D.

This is a part of Houston unlike any other—we bring together all the unique and unexpected benefits of a highly diverse and growing population all in one place. Each person here has a voice that deserves to be celebrated and used to paint a picture of who Downtown truly is for the rest of Houston to see and embrace.

The campaign is designed to create a connection between all of the different Downtown businesses, residences, events, programs and people to build neighborhood unity. As it grows, Meet Downtown will form a canvas of shared memories, sentiments and quotes about Downtown. We will connect audiences to shared experiences and introduce visitors to places they may never have been before.

How to talk about it.

First things first. While Downtown's office market is a really big deal, today there’s far too much going on here to qualify us as only a “Central Business District”. So, skip “CBD” or the business district language, and just use Downtown.

Downtown is Vibrant.  Downtown used to struggle with the image of being a 9 - 5, Monday through Friday kind of zone, but most of us can agree that’s just not true anymore. Sharing what you love about Downtown, like the opportunity to meet people from all different walks of life or sharing the changes you’ve seen over the last few years, will help people see the vivaciousness our neighborhood has to offer.

Downtown is Authentic. There’s no stereotype of who spends time in Downtown, or even expectations on how you should spend your time here. Downtown is a place where people can just do their own thing. We should keep reminding people that this is a place where all are welcome, and all belong. Share what parts of Downtown Houston truly speak to you, so that other people can find their places, too.

Downtown is Dynamic. Downtown is constantly evolving, and there’s an energy here that comes from that growth. New murals turn parking lots into art galleries, or pop-up markets turn busy streets into artisanal craft shows—and that’s truly just the beginning. Shining a light on specific activities and offerings helps people build an idea of everything that’s happening in Downtown, reminding them that there’s something different around every corner.

Downtown is Human. Downtown isn’t just about being in a certain place, it’s about the community that surrounds you. So rather than just talking about what makes Downtown great in abstract terms (Good food! Entertainment! Walkable!), we’re featuring quotes from real people who spend time in Downtown and what makes it personally special to them.

With things to do and see around every corner, it’s undeniable, Downtown is a good place to be. We want more Houstonians to know that. We want visitors to know that. We want everyone to feel proud of the things that are here and excited for what’s to come!

Our media plan in 2019 consists of print, digital and social media, environmental graphics located in the tunnels and in businesses and a new TV partnership with KPRC Ch. 2.

Marketing Resources


The Downtown District is an advocate for businesses, residents, employees, developers and others-- our goal is to create a livable community and a destination for all.  The marketing programs that we have in place are a great source of information to businesses as well as local Houstonians and visitors to our great city.


Downtown Magazine
We produce a quarterly publication called downtown magazine, available both in physical and digital copies. Part city magazine, part guide, you'll find interesting and topical editorials and profiles as well as a comprehensive dining guide and datebook sharing info on what to do and where to go downtown. Our target audiences are downtown workers, residents, and visitors, both local and out-of-town. We currently distribute 50,000 magazines per quarter.
  
Web Portal
The Downtown District produces and manages the Downtown Houston website, downtownhouston.org,  which serves as a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about Downtown Houston. The most popular sections for visitors include our calendar of events and guide sections, a stories section that features in-house articles, news links and videos and a comprehensive doing business section that includes a multitude of reports and links to helpful information. 
 
Interactive Downtown Parking Map
Although there is a large supply of public parking Downtown, it still can be confusing.  We recently created the Downtown Interactive Parking Map that now makes it faster and easier to find a spot. Garage, on-street, surface and valet parking are all listed as well as useful tips that will help make you a Downtown parking expert!  Make sure you add this handy tool to your favorites.
 
Weekly E-Newsletter
We produce a weekly e-newsletter, The List, which goes out to approximately 21k subscribers every Thursday morning. The eBlast includes top-level weekly happenings that vary from concerts to theater performances to new restaurant openings. 

Social Media
In addition to the outlets mentioned above, we also manage the official Downtown Houston Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. With thousands of followers, we are happy to help spread the word about Downtown business, events and newsworthy tidbits. 

Videos
As video consumption online increases dramatically, including on mobile platforms, so does the importance of including rich media as part of a content marketing strategy. The production of short and long video forms (15 seconds to three minutes) will intensify storytelling in cases when written content and images have limitations. This video content can be used in a variety of ways:
  • Broadcast advertising- we currently parnter with KPRC Ch. 2; our media buy for our Meet Downtown :30 commercials inlcude local news, Today Show, SNL, The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon and others
  • Digital and social advertising
  • Website
  • Social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube)
  • Shared content with Downtown stakeholders

Resident Welcome Packets—Distribute a Downtown branded bag for new residents.  Include welcome letter, maps, magazine, Greenlink info and partner info.   

Maps & Misc.
Lastly, we produce a variety of maps and other materials promoting Downtown Houston including our most popular piece, the Downtown Above & Below Map.  Greenlink brochure, Historic District Map & Guide, Holiday Guides and more round out our inventory. 

Programming


The Downtown District aims to enhance Downtown public spaces by creating thoughtful and innovative programming that enlivens unique areas throughout Downtown Houston, specifically on nights and weekends. 

Over the past seven years, the Downtown District has successfully operated and programmed Market Square Park, and the result has been transformative for the Historic District neighborhood.   Moving forward, we are taking the Market Square model and will replicate it in other areas of Downtown. The most immediate expansion of our programming efforts is Main Street Square, a three-block pedestrian plaza, where we activate the public space through temporary public art, vendor carts, events and community engagement. In addition, we produce events thoughout Downtown through programs such as DIY Downtown and our annual Downtown Home Tour. 

Banner Program


The objective of the Downtown Banner Program is to add color and excitement to Downtown as well as create a sense of place. The Downtown District manages the banner program on behalf of the City of Houston. Banners, as referred to in the attached document, are an outdoor display that is placed, erected or fastened to a street light standard owned and maintained by an electric utility or by the Downtown District (located in the public right of way).

The banner program is guided by the City of Houston’s Code of Ordinances (Section 40-30) which states that banners are to be used to accentuate the aesthetic appeal of downtown. Banners shall be used for noncommercial and nonpolitical purposes only and shall use a word or words only as a part of an artistic composition. (Banners are not meant to be used as an advertisement of a business, a product or other private or personal message). 

The Code of Ordinances has been amended relating to permitting the use of banners for certain conventions and large-scale events.

If you are a non-profit, large convention at the GRBCC or a major, city-wide event, you may be eligible to use the on-street banners poles.  Expenses include fabrication and install/removal costs. Please note that if there are District banners up, you may be required to incur the expense of removing and reinstalling per the needs of the Downtown District.

Banner Policy & Specifications
Banner Locations Map

For more info, please contact:
Angie Bertinot
713.650.3022
angie@downtowndistrict.org