BANGOR, Maine — Bangor is no Fortune 500 company, and Tanya Pereira is no Bill Gates, but Bangor’s business development specialist is borrowing philosophies and strategies from both in her quest to elevate Bangor’s visibility.
The first sentence in Pereira’s 2012 economic development marketing plan for the city, which she presented to the Bangor City Council’s business and economic development committee Tuesday afternoon, illustrates her approach.
“Economic development marketing in the city of Bangor is overdue for updating and refreshing,” she wrote.
The six-page synopsis uses many words and phrases familiar in corporate America — such as “comprehensive marketing, entrepreneurs, product improvement, brand” — and refers to Bangor as “the product.”
The effort, which has been under way for several months, is being made to elevate Bangor’s visibility statewide and beyond, but also to re-create a brand for the city.
“This is really part of what I was hired to do in the first place,” said Pereira. “I hope this process and the product it delivers will allow us to capture the excitement and enthusiasm people have for the good things happening in the city of Bangor.”
Among the focuses of Pereira’s effort are directional and promotional signs, especially in downtown Bangor; marketing the city and its services on the Internet; personal contacts; standardization of certain processes; trade show exposure; and borrowing from the Disney Institute model of employee training.
“We want to create a polished image of the city. We’re all out there selling the Bangor region,” Pereira told the four councilors, a half-dozen city staff members and local organization representatives at the City Hall meeting.
“I think this is a long overdue effort to project an image of Bangor we want to project,” said Councilor Ben Sprague, adding that arts and entertainment should be incorporated into the city brand along with business, development, amenities, health care and other services.
Almost everyone in attendance agreed that signs should be the first emphasis of the effort, especially downtown. The placement, type, size and even color of signs were discussed.
“We need to emphasize uniformity and informational value on our signage,” said Councilor Pat Blanchette.
Blanchette said Bangor Assistant Community Development Director Rosie Vanadestine has assured her that signs will be developed and begin appearing throughout the city in six months.
“I would like to see Bangor take a bold approach to this involving arts and culture along with economic and health services,” said George Kinghorn, president of the Downtown Bangor Partnership.
The committee voted 4-0 to proceed with the plan so far and authorized city staff members to continue with the rebranding and marketing effort and to come up with prototypical signs.
All the work — from sign design to creation, promotions and marketing — will be done by city employees.