Main Street Mason City Strategic Communications Campaign

Main Street Mason City logo
Academic Year 
Journalism & Mass Communication
Project Partner 
Led by 

Journalism & Mass Communication students will develop a strategic communications campaign for Main Street Mason City, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with a mission to “enhance, promote and preserve downtown Mason City as a diverse business, cultural and residential destination, for the benefit of the entire community.”


Mason City is one of about 50 communities in Iowa to have a Main Street organization as designated by the statewide Main Street Iowa program.  The designation indicates Mason City’s commitment, through financial and human capital, to preserving and growing the downtown district as the cultural and economic heart of the community.  Main Street designation also provides access to robust technical and financial resources through the Main Street Iowa program. 


Main Street organizations traditionally focus on three key areas of downtown revitalization: Economic Vitality, Design, and Promotion.  Organization is a fourth area that focuses on the program itself.   


  • Economic Vitality supports business growth and attraction, drives customer traffic into downtown businesses, and promotes higher residential density in order to increase pedestrian activity. 
  • Design focuses on enhancing the physical elements of downtown while capitalizing on the unique assets that set the district apart, particularly with respect preservation of historic buildings and character.
  • Promotion positions the Main Street district as the center of the community and the hub of activity, including numerous public events throughout the year.
  • Organization ensures that all program resources (partners, funding, volunteers, etc.) are mobilized to effectively implement the key strategies.

With new downtown development set to occur, including a downtown hotel and convention center, as well as a new executive director, Main Street Mason City seeks to develop a strategic communications campaign to generate greater understanding of the program among the public and the business community, and to enhance its ability to effectively fulfill its mission. 


Considerations for strategic communications may include:


  • Educating businesses in the Main Street district about the organization’s purpose and resources, particularly regarding the distinction between Main Street and other community & economic development organizations (e.g. the Chamber of Commerce)
  • Attracting new businesses to fill empty storefronts, and connecting existing business to resources that support growth and expansion
  • Educating developers and property owners about resources for upper story residential development
  • Drawing residents and visitors to the downtown district
  • Generating financial support for the program through investments and sponsorships
  • Building enthusiasm for the organization from volunteer board of directors