AMA Cincinnati sits down with Mindy Rosen, Senior Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives for Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI) to talk about local marketing, recent successes of some major new initiatives that occurred in Cincinnati this year (and what’s to come in 2017). Let’s dive in!
Let’s talk about DCI—what do you do, and what is your role?
I work for Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated—DCI for short. It’s a nonprofit business organization, somewhat like a chamber, but our focus is only downtown. We fund the amazing Ambassador program—hopefully you’ve seen them, the team of men and women, dressed in blue jackets and orange polos who keep downtown clean and safe. They pick up litter, they are the eyes and ears of the police and they even hand out umbrellas when it’s raining.
Professionally, have you always been in “public” roles, or marketing roles, or a mix of both?
I found this niche of marketing downtown districts 20 years ago when I lived in Denver and then moved to Los Angeles, where I grew up. Who could ask for a better job than promoting all the assets located downtown—the unique merchants, museums, events and now so many residential options? Plus, I love following urban trends and politics.
What have been some of the exciting projects you’ve been able to work on?
Helping the talented team at Metro with the grand opening of the Cincinnati Bell Connector was totally fun! DCI’s task was to encourage merchants to offer “Streetcar Specials” throughout the weekend. It’s been so gratifying to see the Connector filled with happy, curious people.
Before Cincinnati, once of my favorite projects was assisting with the grand opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. It’s designed by Frank Gehry and is home to the L.A. Philharmonic. We installed a red carpet that was actually used by celebrities—I had never before worked on a project with movie stars!
Some of our board members are Streetcar—I mean, CB Connector—Groupies. The entire project has been a fascinating marketing case study—from logistics, to branding, to essential communications (maybe some crisis communications), and those other “point of sale” factors. Tell us about it.
You are right, the Cincinnati Bell Connector is a fascinating case study. Streetcar construction began under Mayor Mallory’s administration and then actual operations began under Mayor Cranley. Everyone agrees that, now that it is up and running, we all want the streetcar to be successful. And so far, so good!
Metro just announced that in little more than six weeks since opening, there have been more than 200,000 rides, which far exceeds anyone’s expectations.
More than 7,000 people have downloaded the Cincy EZRide app so they can buy their fare online. I use it all the time, too. With it being such a great deal — $1 for two hours or $2 for all day, I can now travel to Findlay Market for lunch from my office on Seventh Street without moving my car and can still make it inside of an hour.
Many folks feel that the CB Connector is a major step forward for Cincinnati in being a more metropolitan, inclusive city, especially for business and marketing professionals who relocate here. Do you have any data on the amount of marketing professionals who move to the Cincinnati MSA each year?
Yes, thanks to the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and their amazing HYPE program, here are some interesting stats about Young Professionals in Cincinnati:
Cincinnati USA has made real progress in the efforts to attract and retain talent in our region. The average annual growth rate in the United States for Young Professionals (20 to 34 year olds) is 0.68%. From 2010 to 2013, Cincinnati gained 10,025 which is an average annual growth rate of 0.8% which puts us at 11 out of 12 when compared to our peer regions.
We are moving in the right direction, for sure.
Very cool! If there’s one (or three) piece(s) of advice you could impart on a business or marketing professional that just transplanted to Cincinnati, what would it be?
Be curious. Explore as much as you can. Read up on what’s happening here – local politics, local food scene, and the local arts. Once you find your niche, volunteer. It’s the best way to meet other people and make a difference.
The Fun Stuff
Who is your professional role model and why? My dad. He taught me to stay calm, trust people, and always be your best. Also, the Girl Scouts trained me to always leave the campground in better shape than I found it. I follow that same advice at my office with each task I perform.
What is the one app you can’t live without? Open Table. My husband and I go out to eat all the time and use this app whenever possible, even when we travel. It makes it so easy to book a table and earn points.
What are your favorite parts of Cincinnati? I love walking down Fourth Street towards the Taft Museum of Art. The Guildford School has stunning architecture, the trees along the way frame the scenery. Lytle Park is a tiny gem and the Taft Museum is filled with interesting exhibits, a delicious café and one of my favorite gift shops.
What are your three ideal Jeopardy categories? French Literature, Art, and Current Events.