Relationship management as a downtown public relations strategy: A case study of downtown Goshen, Indiana

Relationship management as a downtown public relations strategy: A case study of downtown Goshen, Indiana

Grace Bonewitz, M.A. and Minjeong Kang, Ph.D.
Ball State University’s College of Communication, Information, and Media (Muncie, IN)

May 2013

Study purpose

While there are many strategies being researched and discussed in the public relations discipline, there has been no empirical effort to examine public relations strategies in the downtown development context. While most public relations theories and strategies apply across multiple industries and locations, many challenges facing downtowns (i.e. urban sprawl, large retail chains, crumbling façades) are quite different than those in the corporate world. The findings from this study would be beneficial to many regional development offices by identifying successful and unique strategies that led to the success of the revitalization efforts by DGI. Specifically, this case study of downtown Goshen, IN, and its economic development organization, DGI, examined the relationship management and maintenance strategies with key stakeholders and regional revitalization efforts of DGI from three theoretical perspectives: community coalition-building and relationship management/maintenance, place making/destination branding, and creative capital theory.

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