Port Chief to Resurrect Branding Effort

By Rachel Pritchett
The sell is on.
Port of Bremerton CEO Cary Bozeman soon will put a little pressure on business and community leaders to support a port-led marketing campaign to attract new employers.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do it,” Bozeman said, adding there’s never been an all-hands effort to market Kitsap County.
At a summit as soon as next month, Bozeman expects to ask the leaders — bankers, hoteliers and others who would benefit — each to contribute $5,000 annually for three years to a campaign to spur interest in the port’s marinas, airport and industrial park.
The campaign would take place mostly on the radio, where spots can be bought for not much money. Ads would highlight opportunities at the port initially. The campaign could be expanded to the wider county later.
“What we want people to start thinking is, ‘Why not Kitsap?’” Bozeman said.
The port was the host of a September economic-development conference in which “branding” Kitsap emerged as a priority. Bozeman then offered to spearhead fundraising for a campaign.
The next month, however, he dropped his offer. Another entity, the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor & Convention Bureau, was forming a marketing plan of its own.
“The port has no interest in duplicating what other people are out there doing,” Bozeman said in October.
But Bozeman has since apparently changed his mind, saying a marketing effort to bring in new employers, jobs and families would be more successful — even during the recession — if everyone signed on to one single campaign.
“I still believe that 35 organizations working together is better than 35 groups working independently,” Bozeman said.
The port soon will hire a new marketing director to help.
Meanwhile, the visitors bureau continues work on its own emerging marketing campaign to draw tourists and others to Kitsap.
Just like the port, visitor bureau leaders hope to set up a corporate-giving program to help fund a marketing campaign. The VCB campaign would be focused on the Internet, including blogs.
“It’s all about the Internet, especially when it comes to travel,” said Patricia Graf-Hoke, executive general manager of the visitors’ bureau.
She meets with her board Thursday to lay out more of the plan.
Graf-Hoke said the visitors bureau campaign is being focused on tourism, where the port-led campaign would focus on creating new jobs by attracting employers.
She said she and Bozeman have touched base on their plans.

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