The Power of Earned Media

Leveraging the Public’s Interest to Advance The Banks’ Development – Part I

Carter is excited to feature a two-part series in our Guest Blogger column by Libby Korosec, a public relations and communications specialist in Cincinnati, Ohio. Libby is the current spokeswoman and PR representative for Carter’s mixed-use development project, The Banks, which is located downtown along the riverfront.

Cincinnati’s heritage comes from the Ohio River. Because of its proximity to the water, the city was one of America’s first settlements in the late 18th century. However, by the early 2000s, Cincinnati’s riverfront had fallen out of favor and was underutilized. City leaders had long wished to redevelop the riverfront, reuniting Cincinnati with its Ohio River heritage while simultaneously bringing economic benefits to the region. 

Moving the city’s two major league sports teams, the Bengals and the Reds, to the riverfront in the early 2000s started the redevelopment. But for years the land between the two stadiums sat vacant. Cincinnati’s business leaders fielded a survey, and the region cited the inability to develop this area as the city’s “most embarrassing failure”. 

It wasn’t until Carter got involved that progress was made. The Banks’ development team, which consisted of Carter, the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, formed a public-private partnership (The Banks Public Partnership) and is now in the process of completing this vision. We broke ground in the spring of 2008 and started to develop Cincinnati’s very first downtown, mixed-use development.  

People here have a very keen interest in the development. That’s because The Banks has come to represent both the city’s history and its future. Therefore, The Banks has really been in the public eye for decades. The Carter team has learned that when you do anything at The Banks – good or bad – it gets reported.  

Here’s a taste of the media’s interest: after we broke ground and before we even announced our first tenant, the project garnered more than 200 million earned media impressions. That means that 200 million sets of ears and eyes saw or heard something about The Banks on TV, on the radio, in the paper or online during that four-year time span – without us paying a single dollar to achieve it.  

The attention is good, but it can be challenging. Sometimes we must report on news we’re not too proud of, like lawsuits or delays. But mostly we find a way to keep stories about The Banks either neutral or positive.

That media attention continues to this day. As we prepare to break ground on Phase II, we expect that our ability to market the development through earned media will continue. In the upcoming Part II of my guest blog series, I’ll detail how we do our best to leverage this media interest and make it work for The Banks.

Missed our last guest bloggers? Read Brad Alexander’s thought on Georgia legislation here, and Kristi Fickert’s marketing insight, Part I and Part II.

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