In the wake of a total global crisis, the Meet Minneapolis team got to work.
Connecting the Community
Last summer, as communities across the state reeled, the CVB launched the “We Need Us!” campaign as a rally cry and reminder on the importance of supporting the businesses that make Minneapolis so unique.
“It really came from this question of, ‘How can we support our community that’s hurting in so many ways and make locals feel comfortable making those choices?’” says senior vice president of destination branding & strategy Courtney Ries.
The CVB worked with influencers to share their experiences visiting local restaurants and shops to demonstrate how businesses were deploying safety protocols like social distancing and mask policies and help build confidence for local consumers.
The organization also crafted logos, slogans and a full digital asset toolkit with custom options for each Minneapolis neighborhood to help spread the message. Signage stating “We Need The Northside/The Northside Needs Us” or “We Need Lake Street/Lake Street Needs Us” and “Support the small businesses that support us back” dotted local lawns, billboards and building sides. Local photographers also helped capture Minneapolis residents and communities as a part of the marketing materials.
“This was about inspiring a community, but it wasn’t just a tagline. There were actual people behind this project and it was so important to humanize that message at a time when so many of us were stuck at home,” she says.
The campaign has since earned its own spotlight, having won a silver award from Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) for its overall impact as a recovery strategy. “There have been a lot of cities that have now put together something similar, but ours was one of the first, very well-received and we’re just ecstatic it’s helped make an impact in our communities,” she says.
Most importantly, Ries notes the campaign was designed to include support for those who aren’t always recognized as small businesses—including event professionals. “When we think of all of the people who need to work together to make an event happen, those are some of the service providers that have been hardest hit. This was a love letter and call to arms for them especially.”
Supporting a Sustainable Future
The team behind the Minneapolis Convention Center (MCC) also had a productive year, earning its GBAC STAR accreditation last fall for demonstrating compliance with the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention.
“For years, we’ve been known for our cleanliness and preparedness. That’s been our calling card, so to earn this recognition was an honor, but it was also a ‘yes, and’ in the sense that it was also a great chance to revisit and even improve procedures that earned us that reputation,” says executive director Jeff Johnson. “It’s a powerful signifier to communicate to clients the standard that we’re holding ourselves to.”
The MCC is also prepared to make full use of its recently renovated Plaza as restrictions and safety protocols allow. Renovations wrapped up last year and included a variety of sustainable additions including the incorporation of pollinator meadows and plantings to create a pollinator oasis in the Center’s urban setting. The MCC also introduced a reclaimed water system to repurpose as much as 250,000 gallons of rainwater from the Center’s roof to water the Plaza and its surrounding grounds.
“The new Plaza additions are a great resource for the environment, but also for attendees,” says Johnson. “We wanted to give attendees a chance to connect with nature between meetings and breakouts and have a chance to relax in a wide-open space.”