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Washington Heights Business Group Unveils New Marketing Campaign

By Nigel Chiwaya | December 20, 2012 5:37pm

UPPER MANHATTAN— The Washington Heights Business Improvement District is launching a new marketing campaign that it hopes will drive customers to uptown shops, restaurants and cultural sites.

The initiative, "Explora," will be a full-on uptown marketing blitz, with light post signs, neighborhood wayfaring maps, discount cards and smartphone apps, all designed to help bring shoppers to the area.

"Whenever I speak to businesses, it's been repeatedly stated that there needs to be some sort of initiative to make people aware of all the treasures of northern Manhattan," said BID director Angelina Ramirez, who believes the initiative will open both area residents and commuters to the services available uptown.

The campaign will kick off in earnest in March, and will tie-in to several month-long neighborhood events throughout the year, such as April's restaurant month, August's back-to-school season and October's beauty month. In addition, throughout the year customers will be able to receive discounts at participating uptown shops by presenting a membership card.

The campaign has already made waves. In early December, "Explora" won $50,000 from the city's Department of Small Business Services, which held a contest in June challenging the city's 67 business improvements districts to create plans to strengthen their neighborhoods.

At the center of the campaign are colorful logos created by students at the School of Visual Arts, which Ramirez said highlights the cultural and, gastronomical and seasonal aspects of northern Manhattan.

"It's going to drive a lot of vibrancy to the area," Ramirez said of the visuals, which will be included on everything from totes to buttons and aprons.  "It depicts all of the different wonderful aspects of the neighborhood."