University of Iowa

Main Street Mason City Strategic Communications Campaign

Academic Year 
2017-2018
Project Partners 
Project Topics

Journalism & Mass Communication students developed a strategic communications campaign for Main Street Mason City, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with a mission to “enhance, promote and preserve downtown Mason City as a diverse business, cultural and residential destination, for the benefit of the entire community.”   Mason City is one of about 50 communities in Iowa to have a Main Street organization as designated by the statewide Main Street Iowa program.  The designation indicates Mason City’s commitment, through financial and human capital, to preserving and growing the downtown district as the cultural and economic heart of the community.  Main Street designation also provides access to robust technical and financial resources through the Main Street Iowa program.    Main Street organizations traditionally focus on three key areas of downtown revitalization: Economic Vitality, Design, and Promotion.  Organization is a fourth area that focuses on the program itself.    Economic Vitality supports business growth and attraction, drives customer traffic into downtown businesses, and promotes higher residential density in order to increase pedestrian activity.  Design focuses on enhancing the physical elements of downtown while capitalizing on the unique assets that set the district apart, particularly with respect preservation of historic buildings and character. Promotion positions the Main Street district as the center of the community and the hub of activity, including numerous public events throughout the year. Organization ensures that all program resources (partners, funding, volunteers, etc.) are mobilized to effectively implement the key strategies. With new downtown development set to occur, including a downtown hotel and convention center, as well as a new executive director, Main Street Mason City seeks to develop a strategic communications campaign to generate greater understanding of the program among the public and the business community, and to enhance its ability to effectively fulfill its mission.    A strategic communications campaign is an essential component of improving public relations and increasing brand awareness for the Main Street Mason City organization.  Students developed a campaign that considers existing perceptions and awareness of the organization from external audiences, defines target audiences based on specific objectives, and tailors messages and campaign materials to those audiences in order to achieve desired outcomes.