Willow Lawn is a shopping and lifestyle center in Richmond, Virginia. When it first opened in 1956, it was the first “shopping center” in the Richmond area, and became a destination spot for many in Central Virginia. Over the decades it has seen many iterations and renovations, and changes in the retail market have seen anchor tenants come and go. It was acquired by Federal Realty Investment Trust in 1983, and they have since embarked on several renovations and tenant searches to breathe new life into this Richmond icon. The current configuration of Willow Lawn takes it from an enclosed mall back to its open-air roots, with national anchor tenants like Kroger, Old Navy, and Designer Shoe Warehouse, an outdoor play area for children, events and amenities for families, and an inviting and dynamic dining scene.
Mission:Breathe New Life into an Icon!
Shopping Center Branding: The latest renovation of Willow Lawn has been described as more of a “restoration.” Our branding efforts were inspired by the history of the shopping center for both font styles and color choices. The Willow Lawn logo – featured prominently on one of the original red brick facades – uses a bold font, giving a fresh yet retro look to a classic name. A Willow Lawn ‘badge’ was created for marketing materials, highlighting the renewed commitment to being a neighborhood lifestyle center, and the phrase “Established 1956” was used throughout – a further nod to the iconic history of the center. Our efforts to breathe fresh life into Willow Lawn while embracing its past opened new engagements with Federal Realty, and we now represent eight of their properties across the East Coast.
Event Branding: To bring back the focus on Willow Lawn as serving as a destination spot for savvy shoppers, Federal Realty began a comprehensive program of events that would highlight the openness of the new center footprint and offer enticing programming for families and young adults. Among them is Craft Beer Harvest, showcasing the booming Central Virginia brewing scene; Wine & Whiskers, a pet-friendly tasting and get-together benefitting local animal care nonprofits; and Mommy & Me, a monthly event for parents and kids, with musical acts, plays, children's activities, and more. Each event is individually branded, promoted through newsletters, enews, and social media, and press releases keep area media outlets abreast of what’s on the horizon.
Tenant Signage: While every tenant of Willow Lawn brings their own branding to the table, we help Federal Realty highlight changes in the directory with “Coming Soon” signage and window clings for leasing opportunities. In addition, many tenants, through Federal Realty, come to us for window signage and displays to advertise sales, specials, upcoming holidays, and more.
Inviting Website: Much like the ‘restoration’ of Willow Lawn brought back its open-air roots, the website was designed to be clean and inviting. Clear calls-to-action direct viewers to retail options, dining destinations, and fun events. Bold imagery highlights the rejuvenation of this Richmond icon, and links to email signups and social media pages encourage viewers to keep up with all the Willow Lawn goings-on.
Dining Excitement: Richmond is increasingly getting national recognition for its dining scene, and the eateries at Willow Lawn are no different. Through enews and social media, we announce openings, promote specials, invite diners to tastings and tap takeovers by local brewers, and share photos of delicious dining options.
People Like Video: People are over 200 times more likely to watch a video than to read static text. We’ve successfully used video to document and promote the excitement of events at Willow Lawn, the great diversity and enjoyment among attendees, and the attractive renovation of the shops.