Opinion

City’s future relies on marketing

I f Bremerton doesn’t market itself, nobody else will.

The Bremerton City Council, like all government entities,

is having to make some tough choices during this year’s budget talks. One of those decisions is whether to reinstate Mayor Cary Bozeman’s marketing budget.

The advertising money was cut from the mayor’s budget in December. On Tuesday, Feb. 17, the mayor asked the council for a $50,000 budget amendment to reinstate it.

In turn, the council essentially asked Bozeman for a line-item account of where the money goes. The money would cover a variety of marketing material, including the city’s annual reports and mailers to Bremerton residents that give updates on the many ongoing projects. More importantly, however, this cash would cover marketing material the city uses to attract businesses and corporate investors to the city.

Businesses and corporate investors, it should be pointed out, are the future of this city. Were it not for the investors who already have bought into the vision, a conference center in downtown Bremerton would still be a pipe dream rather than a reality.

Former Mayor Lynn Horton laid the groundwork for the changes downtown and Bozeman picked up the ball and ran with it. One of Bozeman’s talents, it turns out, is he knows how to get other people enthusiastic about change and progress. He understands most people can’t buy into an idea without seeing the end result. In this case, the projected end result is shown in the marketing materials his office generates.

The marketing materials aren’t just pieces of paper. They are an investment in Bremerton that can pay off. And the marketing campaign has paid off in the past.

It may be argued there are other entities tasked with marketing Bremerton, such as the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce, the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau and the Kitsap Regional Economic Development Council. That argument does not hold water.

Each of those entities serves a different purpose: the Bremerton chamber serves primarily as a welcome wagon for folks who are relocating to Bremerton and offers services to existing businesses.

The visitors bureau deals with the entire county, not just Bremerton.

The development council, again, deals with the entire county, not just Bremerton.

The city council should reinstate the marketing funds.

If Bremerton does not break out and market itself, nobody is going to give it the attention it warrants and needs to become a success story.

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