Branding specialists worked this week with Beaufort residents, merchants, city officials and local organizations and came up with a simple -- and cheeky -- way of marketing Beaufort.
"Historic downtown Beaufort, queen of the Sea Islands. Established before Savannah, discovered before Charleston," was a slogan presented Friday by staff from Arnett Muldrow & Associates. The firm has been meeting with residents and business owners this week, casually and during workshops arranged by Main Street Beaufort, USA.
"We can have fun with (the saying) but not be mean spirited," Ben Muldrow said. "And then there's a tagline we can have a lot of fun with."
The tagline makes reference to a "historic retreat," which the consultants think locals will recognize as a nod to times such as during the Civil War when landowners buried their silver and headed out of town.
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A proposed ad with a picture of silver antique dishes and "Sometimes you need to retreat and unearth some silver," took the play on words even further.
Instead of an official logo, the firm suggested ways to use typefaces, colors and the slogan in ads, signs, festival logos and other promotional material. For example, the consultants showed a slogan for the Boundary Street shopping district, inviting people to "Feel free to cross the line."
"We don't want it to look too corporate; we want it to capture the warmth and the diversity you have," Muldrow said.
Ten colors, three fonts and similar templates for ads and promotional material will help create a cohesive marketing image, the consultants said.
Various styles of street signs can be used to direct visitors around town, and colors can be used to tie together the city's various districts, consultant Tee Coker said.
The consultants will prepare a style guide, templates, social-media icons and other design features that will be free for businesses and organizations to use. The more the branding style is used, the more effective it will be, he said.
"You've been known for years as the 'queen of the Sea Islands,'" Muldrow said. "But it's up to you to market it and make it mean something."
Main Street's effort was an attempt to make downtown and uptown appealing to residents. Meanwhile, the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce is working on a marketing campaign to pull visitors in from outside the area. The chamber is the city's designated marketing organization and receives an annual portion of accommodations-tax revenue.
The two campaigns can complement each other, consultants said.
"In a way, the DMO and Main Street need each other because Main Street can fill a gap with local customers, with regional customers," consultant Tripp Muldrow said.
The chamber plans a presentation before City Council at 5 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall, 1911 Boundary St.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeonBeaufort.