hashtag , a social media calendar to identify opportunities to create posts that link to downtown businesses , a photo inventory , and suggested storylines to help support their efforts .
“ For me , one of the most effective things about this program , and one of the things I use regularly , is that storytelling that hits multiple targets ,” Cooper said . “ Rather than saying ‘ We ’ re going to do this messaging that hits one single target ,’ this was a way for us , across the board , to say ‘ This is what we ’ re doing thematically ,’ and ‘ How can we incorporate that into all aspects of our program ?’ ”
MAIN STREET COMMUNITIES
Capturing essence , drawing out meaning
Lamar ’ s branding effort involved inviting people to visit and “ steal away ” and take time for themselves . It also helped highlight a story that many people were unfamiliar with .
“ Matt and Ben were intrigued with Lamar ’ s colorful history of hijacking a train depot in 1886 ,” Cue explained . “ Developers identified land in Southeast Colorado as the next township along the Santa Fe Trail , but the train depot they needed was located on a ranch three miles east of the site . The landowner did not want to negotiate moving the depot , so the developers lured him away with a fake telegram , and in the middle of the night they loaded up the depot on a traincar and relocated it to where it is now , in downtown Lamar . This is how ‘ steal away ’ became part of telling our story by also sharing Lamar ’ s history .”
Similarly , the City of Montrose – which Main Street Manager Chelsea Rosty describes as “ the Colorado you were promised ” – said the most helpful tools to come from the Pickaxe Project were the names of their two transformative strategies : 12x12 and Bullseye History .
“ These concepts , surrounding the focus of our program , allow our board and community to filter every project and idea through the lens of history and a yearround vibrant community ( open 12 hours a day , 12 months a year ),” Rosty said .
She said the themes have been wellreceived by community members , elected officials , and other stakeholders .
“ The themes are mentioned at City Council meetings , and they truly provide guardrails for our program in a way that is easily understandable and a way that resonates with the community ,” she said .
Rosty also noted how fortunate she feels to have been introduced to the Pickaxe Project through Colorado Main Street .
“ I ’ ve truly enjoyed the project and Matt and Ben as the leaders of it ,” she said .
What ’ s next for Pickaxe ?
The need for effective communication is ongoing as conditions change and new challenges crop up . With the emergence of COVID-19 , the team has pivoted to create new collateral focused on the innovations and adaptations local Main Streets have responded with .
" We ' re seeing an amazing amount of creativity , and we wanted to support our programs who are on the front lines supporting downtown businesses ," Ashby said .
The team also created a " How-To Guide " to help streamline implementation of these great ideas .
" The Main Thing " and supporting materials can be found at https :// cdola . colorado . gov / dola / themainthing
30 | TRENDS Ingenuity , Integrity , and Intelligence .