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AGAR - Culture - Programming

How Human-Centered Programming Elevates a Space to a Place

As retail centers continue to shift and reimage their offering and experience for today’s consumer, mixed-use developments are finding success in driving traffic through meaningful, human-centered programming. These activations offer year-round events and experiences that connect to the local community, drive loyalty, and offer tenants a unique and authentic way to engage with guests.

Collaborate with community partners.

Finding authentic ways to partner with local organizations and cultural groups provides your development with an active distribution group and an immediate sense of credibility. This a win-win scenario that offers organizations a platform connection while also promoting awareness to drive membership growth. Meanwhile, developments can tap into an active audience to drive engagement, attendance, and awareness. Consider hosting a race with a local running club, a networking event with a young professionals group, or a weekly storytime with a moms’ club – each an easy way to connect to the community and tap into a pre-built audience.

Elevate the residential lifestyle.

Today’s thriving developments provide a holistic destination, somewhere to live, work, and play. Properties that offer residential buildings have a built-in community that can make or break the future of the development. The importance of creating a true lifestyle destination for residents is essential. Catering to these individuals with exclusive perks and amenities will not only drive tenant business but also provide a clear differentiator for the property. Consider venue discounts, dedicated events, or priority reservations. Give residents a sense of pride and ownership in the property to drive affinity and long-term loyalty. 

Create experiences that elicit nostalgia.

Be a destination that invites guests to build new traditions. From holiday tree lighting to Independence Day fireworks, become a foundation for meaningful moments. Create events that guests look forward to, and rely on, each and every year. When creating this type of programming, provide opportunities to capture the moment, from photo-ops to thoughtful takeaways, offer touchpoints that expand the memory and create a reason to share. Thriving developments have become the new town square, the natural destination for community gatherings. Provide your guests with a reason to come together and create traditions year after year.

Be local. Be authentic.

Today’s consumers are looking for unique developments that have a strong brand – a story, a history, and an authentic connection to the local community. Design, architecture, tenant mix, and most importantly programming, should celebrate this distinctive connection. When creating guest experiences, find every opportunity to tie elements back to the brand. From naming to graphics to original events, your programming should feel ownable and unique to your property. 

Utilize dead space.

When creating events, consider activating your entire property. From strategically driving foot traffic to ease of parking, it’s essential to be thoughtful in your planning – and that also means considering dead space. Whether it’s a gravel lot that could be repurposed for extra parking or a seasonal market, or a vacant storefront that could be leveraged for a pop-up experience, having flexible square footage can sometimes be a benefit when it comes to temporary or seasonal programming.