Professional Panel Review

Nebraska Centennial Mall

What is Nebraska Centennial Mall?
Nebraska’s Centennial Mall extends from the State Capitol seven blocks north on what would be 15th Street. Built in 1967 to commemorate Nebraska’s centennial year, it serves as a scenic connection between Nebraska’s iconic State Capitol and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nebraska’s Centennial Mall serves as a gathering space for students from the University, children from the Children’s Museum, patrons who work along the Mall, visitors to Lincoln and Lincolnites. In the last 40 years, the infrastructure and landscaping along the Mall have deteriorated so much that the Mall is beyond the point of practical repair. Steps are cracking, borders are crumbling, trees are dying and all but the main fountain near the Capitol have been filled in. The Mall does not meet the current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, making enjoying the mall difficult and discriminatory against those with disabilities. The unlit Mall is also poses a danger to those walking it at night. The city of Lincoln has committed $3 million in Tax Increment Financing and Keno funds to finance the renovation of Nebraska’s Centennial Mall. There is a strong need to restore the Mall into an attractive, functional space that provides a multitude of benefits to all stakeholders and Nebraskans.

The Challenge
Nebraska’s Centennial Mall is currently in disrepair, but a restoration project will soon begin. Our main chalenge will be to implement a statewide awareness campaign to encourage all Nebraskans to visit and take pride in Nebraska’s Centennial Mall.The client has asked Secret Radio to develop an integrated marketing communications campaign that will establish a new “Nebraska brand” and identity for the Nebraska Centennial Mall, was well as provide the game plan for the promotion of the renovated Mall to all who live in or visit the city of Lincoln. In essence, the new Nebraska Centennial Mall is the front yard and primary entrance to the Nebraska State Capitol and should be viewed, appreciated and used in much the same way as the Capitol is: as a workspace, a meeting space, and a memorial space to the citizens of Nebraska.

What did we need to find out about the Mall and target audiences?
• Demographics and psychographics of Lincolnites and out-state Nebraskans? • Why do people travel to Lincoln? • What do people do when they are in Lincoln? • Where do people stay when they are in Lincoln? • How often do people make trips to Lincoln? • What forms of social media are Nebraskans using? • What is the demographic breakdown of Centennial Mall’s Facebook group? • How do Nebraskans receive their news? • What is the current Nebraska curriculum for fourth grade students? • Do fourth graders take field trips to the Capitol? • Does fourth grade curriculum include information about the Capitol and Centennial Mall?

Secondary Research - Methodology
• Nebraska Census Report • Nebraska Press Association • Facebook • Nebraska Department of Education • Reader Behavior Scores, local daily newspapers 2008 • Director of Social Studies, Larry Starr

Secondary Research Findings
Nebraska Census Report
Residents Families make up 66 percent of the households in Nebraska. Ninety percent of people 25 years of age and over have at least graduated from high school, and 27 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The median income of households in Nebraska is $49,231. Sixty-six percent of people that live in Nebraska were born in Nebraska. The total school enrollment in Nebraska was 479,000 in 2006 to 2008. Elementary school and high school enrollment was 293,000.




The median age is 36.2 years.

52% of Nebraskans are between the ages of 25 and 64.

Secondary Research Findings
Nebraskans on Facebook
Nebraskan Users 800,540+ Ages of Users Men ~338,700 Women ~441,480

Users by Location

College Graduates ~211,200

In College ~36,140 • UNL ~9,980 • UNO ~5,180 • UNK ~2,460

In High School ~51,440

Secondary Research Findings
Centennial Mall Facebook Page Fans/Followers - As of 9/24/10
Graph from Centennial Mall Facebook Page Analytics

Countries • 600 United States • 4 Canada • 2 United Kingdom

Cities • 348 Lincoln • 51 Chicago • 25 Omaha • 11 Dallas

Languages • 606 English (US) • 9 English (UK) • 1 Spanish

Secondary Research Findings
Nebraska Department of Education “Walk Through Nebraska”
Program Goal: The Walk Through Nebraska History program provides the possibility for integration of all curriculum areas from the fourth through eighth grade levels. Program Rationale: Creativity is a necessity when working in the classroom, and this program provides exactly that. With the Walk Through Nebraska History program, the opportunity exists for expanded use of materials in multiple curricular areas. Program Summary: The Walk Through Nebraska History program provides information on 20 Nebraska historical markers. Integrated curricular ideas are included to be used as “tools” for learning both in the classroom and at home. This program was written by Nebraska teachers with the understanding that this is a starting point and expanded ideas are encouraged!

Secondary Research Findings
Director of Social Studies, Larry Starr
Larry Starr is a former eighth grade teacher and taught a Nebraska unit to his students. He believes that as a whole, the subject of Social Studies is hurting because of an overwhelming focus on reading, writing, math and science. Covering those subjects first pushes Social Studies learning to the end of the day, leaving little time to thoroughly teach Social Studies. Statewide, most fourth graders study a Nebraska unit, but fifth and sixth graders may as well. Many students take field trips to the State Capitol in the spring or fall. They may eat lunch on the Mall, but otherwise it is not a main focus of their outing. Currently, there is not much information about the history of the Mall easily available for teachers to share with their students. Starr personally didn’t know much about Nebraska’s Centennial Mall and was interested in learning more. He said the value of kids learning about it is notable. He suggested a scavenger hunt activity where kids would look for specific things on the Mall, which would be of value to their education. Starr also suggested promoting the Mall as a connection between the Nebraska State Historical Society and the Capitol and bringing in the history of the Capitol for relevance. Images of the Mall would also be valuable for students. Primarily it is the teachers who determine what is taught, as long as it is in line with the standards set by the Nebraska Department of Education. Therefore, it is important for the material to be aligned with standards that are available on the state website. School districts will help to disseminate information. Giving teachers access to information via a website would be helpful for lesson planning.

Primary Research - Methodology
• Client Briefing with Lynn Johnson, Director of Lincoln Parks and Recreation, and Susan Larson Rodenberg, founder of SLR Communications. • Interview with Tom Laging, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor of Architecture • Online Centennial Mall survey • In-depth interviews with individual respondents to survey

Secondary Research Findings
Client Briefing
• About 40,000 students visit the mall every year. • $3 million has been raised from Tax Increment Funds (TIF) and Keno funds. • Need $8.5 million for the Mall project, including an endowment for upkeep of the Mall. • Construction is likely to begin in 2012. • $75,000-$100,000 for advertising campaign.

Interview with Tom Laging (noted urban designer/UNL architecture professor)
• The architectural design has been going through various states and is yet to be finalized.

Primary Research Findings
Centennial Mall Online Survey - 234 Respondents - As of 10/2/10
Our Centennial Mall Survey was sent to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Nebraska Communities Internet Connectivity listserv. About 675 Nebraskans from throughout the state subscribe to the listserv. In addition, listserv administrators of Northeast, West-Central and Southeast Nebraska listservs received the survey with an option to send it to their subscribers. Steve Williams, a business development consultant with the DED, was our main contact for listserv information. The audience reached by the DED listserv provided a solid research foundation, because the survey reached Nebraskans who already have strong ties to the state’s economic development. As voluntary members of the email list, they take a genuine interest in statewide changes. In addition to the DED listserv, members of the Centennial Mall Facebook page received the link to the survey. We requested respondents to continue passing the survey to others, which also contributed to our pool of responses. After analyzing the research findings, we received several replies indicating the survey was skewed toward outstate residents. This flaw affected our findings somewhat, because many respondents were long-time residents of Lincoln and couldn’t correctly answer questions pertaining to visiting the city. Overall, the number of Lincoln residents who responded did not inhibit accurate results for the entire survey.


(excludes respondants that indicated residence in Lancaster county)

Frequency 38.7% Visit 2-5 times per year

Primary Reason for Visit • 42.3% Business • 17% Visit family • 10% Shopping/dining • 10% Husker sports

Top 3 Destinations • 82.6% Shopping/dining • 47.2% UNL campus • 45.3% Sporting arenas

Importance of Lincoln

The State Capitol building was the most important thing about Lincoln according to 36.2% of the people surveyed.

Primary Research Findings
Centennial Mall Online Survey - Continued

Attitudes toward Nebraska

50.9% of people surveyed said they would best describe their feelings toward the state as, “I am proud to be a Nebraskan.” Responses to: “As a citizen of the state of NE, what makes you most proud to be a Nebraskan?”

58.2% of people surveyed said that Nebraska is “all about our quality of life”.

30.7% the heartiness and resilience of our citizens 21.6% our solid work and religious ethics 20.8% our agricultural economy and traditions


53.7% of people said that the green movement is “very” important to consider for new buildings.

Primary Research Findings
Centennial Mall Online Survey - Continued

Media Used for Community News

11.2% 13.4% 10.3% 6.5% 5.6% 4.7% 47.8%

Community newspaper Local television Local radio Social media E-mail (various sources) Other Community’s website

Media Used for Nebraska News


Statewide TV Networks

Statewide Newspaper

Statewide Radio

Social Media


Social Media

67.7% of people surveyed use Facebook as their main social media outlet.

Primary Research Findings
Centennial Mall Online Survey - Continued

Respondent Locations






Survey Demographics

Gender 65.9% - Female 34.1% - Male Ages 79% - 25+

Length of Residency 90.7% - 10+ years

Education 43.8% - Bachelors degree 26.5% - Graduate degree Household Income Range 13.8% - $0-$30,000 22.4% - $30,000-$50,000 19.7% - $50,000-$75,000 44.1% - $75,000+

Family Composition 64.8% - No children living at home 35.2% - Children at home

Primary Research Findings
In-Depth Interviews
We noticed that our survey gave participants a choice but not a voice, so we decided to conduct some indepth interviews to hear what people had to say. The final portion of the survey asked respondents if they would be interested in sharing more of their opinions, and gave an option for them to leave their contact information. With the responses we gathered from this question, we created a list of possible participants and sent them identical emails outlining our class project, a brief background on the planned renovation, its taxfree funding, and two options for the person to contact us to conduct the interview, via phone or email. Below we have included some relevant insights gained from our correspondence. We are pleased to introduce you to some unique Nebraskan citizens.

What are your thoughts/opinions on Nebraska’s Centennial Mall and its upcoming renovation?

Hopefully the state, city, and University will all be persuaded to leave their fingerprints on the Mall—it is quite literally a connection between the state’s capitol and an institution of higher learning.

It should certainly reflect the people of Nebraska and agriculture since that is our largest industry. It should be a melding of urban and rural.

Jo Bek 55-64 • Frontier

Jennifer Klein 25-34 • Lancaster

It sounds like a worthy plan and I like the idea of restoring it. I hope there is a sustainability plan to go along with it.

Good idea. I think it is important that all cities renovate and maintain their inner city residential and business areas rather than continually expanding outward and leaving behind rundown and unusable space.

Kae Russell 45-54 • Hamilton

Barbara Schmidt 55-64 • Jefferson

Primary Research Findings
In-Depth Interviews - Continued
How else can we make you feel connected to the Mall?

Make it more of a green space so people enjoy being there and when you walk into it, you say, "AHHHH!"
Jo Bek 55-64 • Frontier

What words come to mind when you think of Nebraska? This question reveals the criteria by which our respondents conceptualize their state, helping us know how to communicate our ideas in their terms.

- Katie & Jennifer

- Katie & Kae

- Barbara

- Jennifer - Barbara & Kae

SWOT Analysis
Strengths • Value as a gateway to two of its most important institutions: UNL and State Capitol • Improves quality of life for Lincoln citizens by creating a pedestrian-friendly outdoor space • Greatly improves aesthetics of downtown, creates continuity between areas like Haymarket, Memorial Stadium and Antelope Valley/Union Plaza • Tourist attraction • Sustainable features reduce energy use/enhance efficiency, improve quality of air, decrease soil erosion and help mitigate polluted runoff • Creates amenities that enhance economic development. • Public space for festivals, gatherings and events Weaknesses • Lack of continuity of stakeholder support • Continuing to decay while waiting on finalization of designs and funding • Legal liabilites: threat of injury to citizens and/or subsequent lawsuits

Opportunities • Attract more people to Lincoln • Improve the image of the State Capitol, increase frequency/length of stay for visitors • Educate Nebraska (and specifically, elementary school field trip-goers) on the history of their state • Reverse negative perceptions of Centennial Mall • Increase nightlife traffic by changing perceptions on its safety (more lighting, etc.) • Make space safe for disabled persons by meeting ADA regulations, reduce threat of injury to citizens and/or subsequent lawsuits • Position Lincoln as a leader in implementing sustainable architecture

Threats • Misconceptions of funding source (e.g. thinking its funded by tax money) • Other outside park spaces • Attention taken away because of other new Lincoln additions like Arena • Insufficient Funding • Apathy from stakeholders, DLA

Primary • Outstate Nebraskans ages 25+ • Eastern and Central/Larger Markets • Parents with children • Middle to upper income • Frequent visitors to Lincoln for business or sports • Educated above high-school (more likely to appreciate state history monuments) Secondary • 4th grade teachers and their students • Primarly those who visit NE State Capitol (Not Lincoln) Tertiary • Adults 25+ who live in Lincoln • Middle to upper income • Parks and Trails supporters and enthusiasts

Goals and Objectives
Our research leads us on a mission to increase awareness of the Centennial Mall renovation to the majority of Nebraskans residing outside of the Lincoln and Omaha. Awareness will also encompass a relationship adjustment. We will make the idea of ownership an all-inclusive one. Our goal is to increase awareness statewide while empowering the citizenry with a sense of ownership. Marketing Objectives • Increase Nebraska’s Centennial Mall name recognition by 25% after first year of operation. • 500 downloads within in first year of 4th grade curriculum materials. • Increase social media activity of fans by 50%. • Increase awareness and excitement about the new Nebrasaka Mall among all Nebraskans. • Differentiate the Centennial Mall renovation funding from other development projects in Lincoln by emphasizing TIF & private funding sources. • Make the ownership of the Mall all-inclusive. • Create continuity between the Mall and recent downtown developments, other landmark features of Lincoln (University, Memorial Stadium, Haymarket, etc.) • Communicate Sustainable features. • Create brand equity for Nebraska Centennial Mall. Advertising Objectives

Positioning Statement
Nebraska's Centennial Mall is the physical statement of Nebraska pride and a symbol of our state's quality of life. Connecting the State Capitol building to the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Mall's sustainability and aesthetics represent beauty and versatility of our capital city and state.