The Client:

As the economic development and marketing arm for Miami’s urban core, the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is a city agency tasked with promoting Downtown Miami as a destination, luring financial investment, and supporting on-the-ground services to improve quality of life for residents and visitors.

The Challenge:

Just days after our firm was retained by the Miami DDA in March 2009, the New York Times ran a cover story titled ‘Monument to Excess,’ which condemned Miami for its boom-turned-bust tendencies and propensity for over-speculation and overbuilding. The world’s perception was clear: our urban core, awash with empty condos, would never be more than a 9-to-5 district.

The Solution:

SMS worked quickly to reset the conversation surrounding Miami’s urban heart, dispelling the myth that downtown was a ‘ghost town in the sky’ and reinstituting confidence in the Miami DDA as an agent of change capable of leading Miami’s global rise.

Since then, our comprehensive communications campaign has used proactive media relations to tell Downtown Miami’s story globally, while branding the DDA as an accountable, responsible, take-charge organization that is changing the face of the city. At the same time, we have engaged Downtown Miami residents, businesses and stakeholders through marketing, social media and special events.

The Results:

  • International press coverage has put downtown Miami on the map as one of the world’s most dynamic urban neighborhoods, with coverage appearing everywhere from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Bloomberg, and USA Today stateside, to La Nacion, Agencia EFE, The Guardian and CNN en Español outside the US
  • Social media is driving new conversations locally and engaging consumer and business audiences worldwide.Today, more than 41,000 people follow DDA accounts on social media and our campaign message reaches over 4 million people yearly
  • Downtown’s global brand has lured billions of dollars in new investment – with many of the world’s largest development firms and corporations looking to the city as an entry point into the U.S. and the Americas
  • Miami’s urban core is now viewed as a 24/7 lifestyle destination, with retailers welcoming nearly $4.5 billion in revenue in 2014 and 1.4 million square feet of new retail space delivering in the next three years as luxury brands enter the market
  • Downtown Miami has become a top-tier tourism destination, with 30% of visitors to Miami-Dade County visiting the urban core in 2015 – an all-time record for the district