The situation. Ben Carter Enterprises already had a nearly $4 billion portfolio of successful retail and mixed-used properties throughout the Southeast. In 2013, the company turned its attention to the Georgia coast to resurrect an underutilized stretch of downtown Savannah.
The firm planned to spend $90 million renovating 37 properties on historic Broughton Street. But some in the tight-knit city were skeptical. BCE hired The Wilbert Group to generate positive publicity to win over the locals, recruit retail tenants, and attract shoppers and residents to the newly named Broughton Street Collection.
Wilbert deployed a smart strategy. Wilbert launched a multi-pronged media strategy aimed at hyper-local media as well as regional, national and trade media. Later, a social media program was launched to lure shoppers. Wilbert generated a steady drumbeat of positive stories in local media outlets that helped win over Savannah. Even the Savannah Morning News trumpeted in a front-page headline “A Better Broughton Street.” National coverage, including in Women’s Wear Daily, Huffington Post and in top-tier trades such as Shopping Centers Today, drove leasing efforts. Wilbert also pitched and secured a story in USA Today dubbing Broughton Street one of “ten great American shopping streets.” Social media took off quickly with more than 2,000 organic followers and likes in just eight months.
Here’s how it drove business results. By 2016, the Broughton Street Collection was 95 percent leased to 32 local, regional and national retailers, with a waiting list for the fully occupied 52 residential lofts. After successfully hitting its benchmarks, BCE brought the 37 properties to market in 2017, and has since sold its equity stake with a significant return. “The Wilbert Group’s ability to stay nimble and adapt to our changing business goals, target audiences and project phases resulted in an incredibly successful PR program for the Broughton Street Collection.," said Quito Anderson, CEO of Ben Carter Enterprises.
The Wilbert Group
1718 Peachtree Street, Suite 1048
Atlanta, GA 30309
404 748 1250