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Red Ribbon Commission: Communications Committee Recommendations

Red Ribbon Commission: Communications Committee Recommendations

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Published by Saul Tannenbaum

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Published by: Saul Tannenbaum on Sep 29, 2011
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09/29/2011

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Red Ribbon Commission on theDelights and Concerns of Central SquareCommunications Sub-CommitteeRecommendations
Co-Chairs:
Robyn Culbertson, Cambridge Office for TourismChristina Pappas, Open the Door, Inc.
Committee Members:
Anne Shuhler, Classic GraphxKelly Thompson Clark, Cambridge Chamber of CommerceEsther Hanig, Cambridge Resident
Joan Squeri, Farmer’s Market
Kara Cournoyer, NovartisPardis Saffari, Economic Development Dept, City of CambridgeSheldon Cohen, Community MappingRobin Lapidus, Central Square Business Assn
Objective of Committee:
1)
 
To establish a broad based communication strategy for business, non-profit and residential communities2)
 
To support other subcommittees with a communications strategy
RECOMMENDATIONS:Visitor Center
 A full service visitor information center in a prominent location in CentralSquare would be an invaluable asset to the efforts of C2 and encourage a
welcoming “gateway” to all of Cambridge.
Ideal specifications would be as follows:
 
Cambridge Office for Tourism will occupy and manage theVisitor Center.
 
Street level location is a MUST!
 
Ideally, the center would be located directly on Mass Ave toward
the “transition” area (MIT end of Mass Ave).
 
 
Minimum square footage requirement would be approximately1000
 
sq. ft. to accommodate the information center, the tourismadministrative offices, and storage.
 
A minimum of two designated parking spots to service visitors tothe center, and more if at all possible.
Website Development & Content Management
 
A new, interactive website is important to the success of thecommunications initiatives. Utilizing existing platforms that have not beendesigned for current and future needs of the group would not be costeffective or efficient to continue. Together with the CSBA, a committeeshould be established to explore the needs of the businesses.Some considerations for the new site are:
 
Develop a whole new site with updated technology that wouldprovide the best platform for ongoing in-house contentmanagement moving forward.
 
Explore areas of content that should be included in the new site.
 
New site should be vibrant and user friendly. The branding of C2will play a key role in the look and feel of the site.
 
Explore offering free wi-fi in Central Square with a link back to theCentral Square website to help drive traffic to the site and interestto businesses.
 
Utilize links to larger sites to expand the functionality without theexpense (i.e. Cambridge Office for Tourism, Harvard, MIT, Gr.Boston CVB, Mass Ofc for Travel & Tourism)
Wayfinding/Signage
A series of informational/directional signs for visitors and residents isneeded throughout Cambridge. A committee with representation from theCity of Cambridge, CSBA, the Cambridge Office for Tourism
with a crosssection of businesses and residents
should examine what the criteria forinclusion on signage would be and where the signs should be located. Thesignage would direct visitors to important sites to see in eachneighborhood.A few proposed ideas would be:
 
Signage should reinforce the established message of each
square’s “branding”. Each Square or Neighborhood couldhighlight what it is known for, such as “Welcome to
CentralSquare-The heart of
Cambridge!” And “Welcome to Kendall
Square-
The Innovation Square!”
 
The signs should be of a cohesive design i.e. all directionalsignage should be the same color, shape and style (see
attached “A
-
1” & “A
-
2”)
 
 
All commemorative
“square”
signage should be the same shapeand color, and all commemorative
“plaza”
signage should be thesame shape and color, etc.
 
Install signage on the sidewalk to denote shops/restaurantswithin shopping areas that might be hidden from view (seeattached
“B”
). Possibly use local artists to design attractivesignage.
 
Each “T” stop head hou
se could have a map of thatneighborhood marked with points of interest for that area. This
 
would require partnering with the MBTA for permission to locatethe map. All maps would be of consistent design, color and size.
 
In lieu of partnering with the MBTA for head house locations,in
stall maps of the entire city in each neighborhood near the “T”
stop or some other logical and visible place. The map of the city
would “highlight” or outline the
neighborhood in which it islocated.
(see attached “C”)
 
Install attractive signage depicting pick-up/drop-off points forlocal tour buses/trolleys and the routes they follow. (see attached
“D
-
1” & D
-
2”
)
 
Install larger banners on the light posts to inform of upcomingevents, regular exhibits & attractions. (see attached
“E”
)
 
Side note: Special meters for donations of spare change couldbe installed next to signage. This step would help to discouragepanhandling in the square, and all donations of spare changewould be divided amongst designated services for the
homeless. (see attached “F”)
 
Training
Training the concierge and others who help to sell Central Square on ourbehalf is imperative to maintain a consistent message to the public.Suggestions:
 
Provide a
weekly
list of events and activities for hotel conciergeand other ambassadors of the Square.
 
Offer regularly scheduled training forums to the hospitality industryand business partners (Gr. Boston CVB, Mass Lodging Assn, MassOfc of Travel & Tourism, etc.) to inform them of the message C2hopes to convey for its marketing efforts.
Educational Familiarization Trips
In partnership with the CSBA and the Cambridge Office for Tourism,arrange a series of familiarization trips to educate groups who are
instrumental in “ground level” marketing
on what is happening in CentralSquare so they can be an extension of the sales & promotional efforts.
 
Conduct a survey among these groups (i.e. the ConciergeAssociation, staff of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism,and the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Sales &Service teams of the area hotels) to get their perception of Central
Square prior to the ”re
-
education”.
 
 
Tag on to existing marketing efforts of businesses to broaden themarketing database for Central Sq.
Themes & Events
 Under the guidance of the CSBA, themed events will be developed toappeal to locals and visitors. They could include the themes of Food,Science, Music, and Theatre, among others. The ultimate goal is tocontinue to showcase the variety of things to see and do in Central Squareto entice people to spend more time here.

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