Sustaining and Strengthening a Community: Staying Resilient During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This past year has been difficult for communities all around the world, let alone the ones in our own backyard. Many small businesses have gone out of business, unable to hang on without revenue for months. Now more than ever, it’s important to come together to support the many people and families that are struggling. It’s crucial to remember that COVID-19 didn’t just upset the business community, it upended cities and towns, families and individuals.

It’s hard to find a comparable time to the one we’re living through right now. At large, municipalities across the United States are faced with the challenge of creating policies and programs to improve family support, public health, housing and other conditions on increasingly tight budgets. It is the task of agencies everywhere to create economic development strategies to improve the conditions of their communities and increase local revenues. Such financial constraints sometimes call for the most out-of-the-box, seemingly unorthodox solutions.

In the midst of the pandemic, the Town of Clinton launched the Downtown Clinton Revitalization Program (DCRP) and enlisted our support not only to keep their community informed about construction, but also to support the local businesses that were going to be significantly impacted by construction activities. As communications professionals, we are quite used to diving in headfirst and firing on all cylinders until the situation is resolved. However, COVID-19 is testing the boundaries of our typical crisis playbook – we’ve been compelled to think very differently about how we conduct outreach.

On January 30, 2021, together with the Town of Clinton Economic Development Department, we launched the #WeDigDowntown social media campaign to encourage community members to continue to support local entrepreneurs, and attract new customers through the broad reach of social media. The #WeDigDowntown campaign has reached thousands of people in Clinton, Worcester County, and as far as Iraq, Guatemala, the Philippines and Mexico.

During the initial month of rolling out the campaign, we observed remarkable growth and improvement of the DCRP’s Facebook engagement beyond regular construction-related insights. With pandemic safety measures rolling back, and the roll out of vaccinations, soon families, friends and acquaintances will gather. The work that we are doing now will establish the “word of mouth” credibility for small businesses, creating a multiplier effect that will help rebuild the local economy. Motivating community members to support local shops and services, which in turn will spur opportunities for employment, increase revenues and aid local conditions.

“We brought Capital Strategic Solutions into our downtown project to ensure that two-way communication with all stakeholders – businesses, residents, and citizens alike – would be seamless. They have surpassed our expectations and created a social media presence for us that we did not anticipate. When construction went into hibernation for the winter, we pivoted. We used that media presence to highlight local business people – not their businesses, per se, but the people and their individual, special stories. The community response has been overwhelming. CSS has done an excellent job of capturing and disseminating these stories.”said Phil Duffy, Town of Clinton Director of Community and Economic Development.

Utilizing campaigns to drive traffic to businesses is nothing new, but the approach of capturing the essence of a business requires other fundamentals. These efforts move the public to care about their neighbors and shops in town, and why their dollars are best spent locally. At CSS, we use a variety of tactics and channels to reinforce our clients messaging, increase understanding and harness the true power of change. By making a necessary investment in your communications, you will empower your community with knowledge, instill belief and lead to true change overtime. Learn more today! You can, give us a call at (508) 690-0046, or email

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