Right now, I’m in Dallas at The Curtis Culwell Center hosting a BOF session to answer questions about design and theming for Drupal users but given the lack of bodies in the room, I thought it might be a good time to write some notes about the session I just attended which was a case study about creating a social brand for the Dallas Design District.

Through the power of social media, some very focused thinking about goals, and strategic planning, Dallas’ design district is said to be the “it” place to live according to a recent quote by the New York Times. Kendall Shiffler presented the case study to Dallas Drupal Days attendees with some great results. The district’s goal was to ultimately make money, and did so through promoting it strategically, socially, and online.

…“But now the design district is attracting new retailers, deep-pocketed developers and plenty of shoppers, thanks to a slew of buzz-worthy restaurants, chic stores and daring art galleries opening alongside brand-new apartments and lofts.” — New York Times

Her team’s strategy – and I hope I don’t screw this up – to accomplish their goals were

  1. Create a social brand on the web
  2. Build a reputation within the community
  3. Get people talking in and about the district

They achieved this by creating a blog, producing lots of high-quality content from their current residents, and by spreading the word through social media like Twitter and LinkedIn. They did this so well that they increased the revenue of the area by 50%, which is astounding given the state of the economy. Now, real estate really isn’t my thing, I really don’t follow the housing market but it is fascinating that this kind of branding / marketing worked so well for this industry. It shows how creativity, focused planning, and passion have large impact. I’d like to think that this strategy can be applied to different industries to achieve similar results.

We can all contribute original content that we care about despite how skeptical we might be of its response. I believe that honesty and transparency are good things and help promote growth in our businesses and our lives. We can all contribute dialog to these stories and become more connected to each other through these social mediums. And lastly, I think we can all benefit from a shared, engaged, and open environment such as the web.

Visit the Dallas Design District’s blog