by Bob Geiger Staff Writer Finance and Commerce
The alphabet soup of business and government organizations connected to Minneapolis’ Warehouse District is about to get thicker.
Within two weeks, the Warehouse Entertainment District, or WED, is expected to launch a new marketing campaign, based on the use of affinity cards, in hopes of attracting more consumers to entertainment venues in the Warehouse District before the first pitch at Target Field in 2010.
When visiting one restaurant or nightclub, consumers will be able to pick up an affinity card entitling them to discounts at other venues in the district.
Although not formally introduced, Kaufman said offerings by founding members of WED could include such benefits range as percentage discounts on food to free appetizers with the purchase of an entree.
“We all … go to one place over and over and over,” said Joanne Kaufman, executive director of the Warehouse District Business Association (WDBA), a group of 100 dues-paying local businesses that gave birth to the WED.
The new campaign, she said, is a method of encouraging consumers to sample the variety of options in the district.
"We want people to remember that while the Twins are still playing at the Metrodome, we’re just a short (LRT) train ride away. When you come downtown and Holidazzle with our friends, make dining in WD a tradition. We have everything available.”
Thus the group’s new slogan – “It’s all here” – emblazoned on the new WED logo. The new logo, created by Minneapolis design and marketing firm Shea Inc., will appear on WDBA’s website, http://www.mplswarehouse.com/, along with links to Meet Minneapolis, formerly known as the Greater Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Bureau; and the Explore Minnesota state tourism website.
Not shown on the roster of links: the Downtown Council, North Loop neighborhood in which most of the WDBA is situated, as well as 2010 Partners, a group of public and private stakeholders that’s acting as an advisory group for development surrounding Target Field.
That’s a lot of committees, organizations and business-related groups with a vested interest in the Warehouse District. But Kaufman isn’t worried about potential confusion. “Really, to be honest with you … nobody really cares what it’s called.” The point, she said, is to get people visiting more than the one venue with which they’re already familiar.
Andy McDermott, director of communications for Shea, and Kaufman, who both are active in 2010 Partners, said online marketing for the affinity program will debut within two weeks. She said the WDBA is “still determining our marketing plan so there’s no (media placement) plan yet. The big piece was getting the logo and the identify piece done.”