April 30, 2013

Portland crafts slogan to put city 'on the map'

Officials think a catchy phrase will help with marketing, but a bad one could do the opposite.

By Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Portland plans to introduce a branding campaign soon that Mayor Michael Brennan promises "will put Portland on the map."

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

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"I don't think it could hurt. I don't think enough people know that Portland's this gem up here," she said.

Derek Romano of Portland, who declined to give his age, said the branding campaign would be well-timed as the city prepares for the opening of new hotels.

"With bigger hotels coming, we are going to need it," Romano said. "The state has, 'Maine: the way life should be,' so it makes sense that Portland has something."

Some residents sounded a note of caution about a branding campaign.

"It has to be the right slogan. It could hurt if it's the wrong slogan," said Hilary Sinauer, owner of Blanche & Mimi, a home goods store. "What people like about this town is that it's unique. It's such a draw now, I don't know if it needs a campaign."

Other Maine communities also are working to come up with slogans.

The city of Sanford is considering two: "Explore. Create. Grow," or "Great for business. Great for life." Lewiston and Auburn aim to come up with a campaign to replace or freshen their current slogan, "LA: It's happening here."

Pending approval this week by their city councils, the twin cities will seek proposals to hire a firm to formulate a new campaign, said Calvin Rinck, marketing director for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council.

Lewiston-Auburn's slogan has evolved over the years, from "The Right Move" to "The Cities of the Androscoggin," which came with its own jingle, and now the current one.

In developing municipal campaigns, cities need to play on their attributes, Rinck said.

"You have to capture the attitude of the city. There has to be a fundamental truth behind it for people to buy into it," he said. "Community campaigns have to start with grass-roots support. You have to take into account focus groups and get community leaders' backing."

Portland didn't start with a grass-roots campaign. Instead, it has been working with a team of partners, including the Portland Regional Chamber, Portland's Downtown District, the Convention + Visitors Bureau and the Creative Portland Corp.

Peter DelGreco, president and CEO of Maine & Company, which provides consulting to businesses looking to move to Maine or expand in the state, said, "Any effort any municipality makes that helps them underscore their core characteristics -- it's always a good thing."

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

jhall@pressherald.com 

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Today's poll: Portland slogan

Do you believe a catchy slogan would help Portland attract more visitors?

Yes

No

View Results