Promoting the Chicago Pedway at street level

01Sep10

Chicago’s underground Pedway spans a large portion of downtown, but relatively few people even know that it exists. Over the past few years, though, the city has done a nice job at making the Pedway entrances easier to find. There’s a consistent logo and color scheme, and even a few signs that tell passers-by about the businesses that are located inside the Pedway areas.

However, this effort still falls quite a bit short. For instance, the Pedway under the Illinois Center contains dozens of businesses. Yet I doubt more than 3 or 4 of them are mentioned on any of the signs that you can see from street level. If I owned a business in there, I’d be furious at the lack of proper promotion. Imagine how many potential customers have no idea that those businesses even exist!

Fixing the signage really wouldn’t be that hard. Just start with the existing branding and logo, and add something like this: “Enter here for Starbucks, FedEx Office, Potbelly Sandwiches and over 50 other businesses.” Even better, list all of those smaller businesses alphabetically below the anchor tenants, so people looking for a specific company or scanning for a particular specialty could find it easily.

Of course, some portion of the businesses that you list on the signs will come and go over time. This might make it a challenge to keep the signs current. But even if the info is a bit out of date, it’s certainly better than nothing. Considering how obscure most of the businesses inside the Pedway are today, even a modest amount of additional signage should make a huge difference when it comes to bringing in new customers.



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