New Bern, new brand work underway

City hires national marketing firm to redefine identity

By Mike Valerio, Reporter
POSTED: 12:32 AM Sep 11 2012   UPDATED: 12:58 AM Sep 11 2012
NEW BERN -

New Bern leaders revealed a road map for a new marketing strategy Monday, calling for a new brand to attract higher growth and investment.

Before a group representing the 100 largest businesses in Craven County, New Bern City Manager Mike Epperson said work will begin in October to target a new slogan. 

North Star Destination Strategies, a Nashville-based company, will build and market what Epperson called "a branding solution and reputation" for North Carolina's colonial capital.

The city manager asked members of the Committee of 100 a simple question to explain New Bern's need for memorable branding.

"Would you rather take a beach vacation in Maui or the Jersey Shore?" Epperson said at Monday's strategy session. "Would you rather sample wine in Sonoma or in Detroit? Reputations are attached to these places, and branding can help achieve a memorable reputation."

In a city where bear statues dot nearly every corner of Downtown, civic leaders said the bear identity has raised pride and prestige within the area, but the effects need to be extended to a wider audience.

North Star's research will begin in October, developing a short and consistent tag line, as well as a logo to be featured on all New Bern marketing materials, websites and signs across the city.

A narrative about a paragraph long will also be drafted, used in promotional materials to explain the city's signature qualities and mission statement.

The cost will total approximately $83,000, cash available in New Bern's General Administration fund. According to Epperson, research will be ready for presentation before the end of the year. Logos, taglines and a marketing plan are expected to be revealed next spring.