LOWELL — City Councilor Patrick Murphy said yesterday if Lowell wants to convey that it is truly alive, unique and inspiring, the city’s marketing efforts need to reflect those qualities.
Murphy urged the administration at last night’s City Council meeting to overhaul its current approach of paying Single Source Marketing for traditional advertising efforts and move toward marketing initiatives that engage the community and promote the city on many different platforms.
Newspaper and radio advertisements do not convey the qualities of Lowell that would draw visitors from other Greater Lowell communities to the city, Murphy said.
“We can move from a simplistic branding of Lowell to one that recognizes (that) the medium and the message ought to complement each other,” he said. “If we are saying we are a creative place, the message should be creative. If we have diversity, we could have diversity in the voices talking about Lowell.”
Murphy said he wants the city to focus on promoting certain events and not just general qualities about the city. He also would like to see the city’s marketing efforts highlight different ethnic communities with terrific restaurants, including the Colombian eateries in Centralville and the Portuguese establishments on Central and Lawrence streets.
“There are these things that are authentic and can’t be replicated in our region,” he said.
Murphy suggested the city conduct a contest asking Lowellians to tell stories about what they like about the city. The entries could be used to craft a more community-oriented marketing campaign and help highlight Lowell’s distinctive qualities.
“Out of the voices would emerge a more accurate picture about what Lowell is all about,” Murphy said.
This new approach would also be much more cost-effective, Murphy said. In the most recent fiscal year, the city shelled out $100,000 for marketing.
“There are a number of groups that aren’t included right now, but could be at a lesser cost,” Murphy said.
City Manager Bernie Lynch said the “There’s a Lot to Like About Lowell” slogan has not been totally phased out, and said he was open to examining the city’s spending on traditional advertising.
“There are probably more effective ways of getting the message of the city out there,” Lynch said.
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(Credit: Lyle Moran, The Sun)