This is why the City of Sanford has teamed up with local businesses and organizations in an effort to shine a more positive light on a community that has faced trying times.
The group, dubbed the Positive Marketing Partner Panel, is made up of 14 members of the community representing businesses, non-profits, chambers of commerce, schools, public relation firms and tourism councils.
Panel member Mary Shaw said, “It’s a group of folks who feel positive and proud about living and working in Sanford and are trying to marshal our collective services to show Sanford in a positive light.”
Shaw has already begun work on a project to show the community’s willingness to work together with her “Hand in Hand” campaign, which encouraged people to trace their hands and write a positive message on them. The hands are currently being displayed around Sanford, with more set to go up.
Other projects the group will tackle include a video kiosk that will allow visitors to record their positive messages about their experiences in Sanford. Although details of the kiosk are still being worked out, non-profits Creative Sanford and the Historic Sanford Welcome Center have spearheaded the project.
Economic Development Director Nick Mcray said the city will also begin to utilize social media, namely Facebook, to promote positive messages and videos about the city. As part of the social media aspect, Mcray said, the group is also working with students from Crooms Academy of Information Technology to create the media for the city.
“Crooms expertise in computer media and web video will be utilized to help produce content for social media,” said Mcray.
Additionally, the city is working with the Lake Mary based marketing firm Stephenson & Associates to create a branding campaign that will eventually help to market the city positively.
They’ve already come up with a tagline for the campaign that incorporates Sanford past and future – “Friendly Sanford… A lot to like.”
That campaign could also include a presence on television, with commercials including the new tagline and video testimonial taken from the kiosk.
“It [the tagline] tries to tell the story that we want to tell and that is that Sanford is much broader in its amenities, the quality of people, the diversity, than what’s been shown recently,” said Mcray.
All of these efforts together, Mcray said, will help in the coming months to change the public perception of the City of Sanford and the community within it. Although no timeline for the unveiling of these projects has been set, he hopes the campaign will roll out sometime before Sanford’s biggest event, the Fourth of July.