Downtown Tupelo looks at new approach

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – People have many reasons to visit downtown Tupelo, and those reasons need to be promoted more often and in better ways, according to a new marketing and branding report.
Robinson and Associates on Tuesday presented its report to the board of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, which hired the group in 2009 to do a marketing and branding campaign.
Tom Robinson cited many reasons to visit the area, including dining, shopping, dancing, worshipping and banking. The main issue, he said, is creating “top-of-mind awareness of downtown as a viable retail and business center.”
“Bringing people downtown is like having a grand opening,” Robinson said. “Once you get people down for one, it’s easy for them to come back. … When people come to Tupelo, we have got to make it a place that they can’t go home until they go downtown.”
He and his team made several recommendations, including rethinking the slogan from “Get Downtown Tupelo” to “It’s Going On!,” “It’s happening” or “We’ve got it going on.”
Robinson also recommended that the organization and the downtown tenants do more to attract people and keep people downtown. Some examples included adding sidewalk benches, giving away snowcones during the summer and having events every month.
He also recommended starting shopping incentives, such as giving downtown employees discounts if they shop and eat downtown.
DTMSA Executive Director Debbie Brangenberg said she was interested in the recommendations about how the organization and the tenants can better market themselves collectively. Robinson suggested that the businesses play off of each other’s events so when shoppers are downtown at one store, a tie-in at a neighboring store or restaurant may get them to stay longer.
The next step, Brangenberg said, is processing all the information and “excellent suggestions and seeing how they fit in with our discussions.”

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.