Portland, ME

Contact Name
Jennifer Hutchins
Project Dates
Workshop Leader
Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) 2013
Policy, Marketing, Workforce Development
Agencies throughout the City of Portland have been collaborating over several months to collectively brand and promote the city as an attractive place for creative-minded professionals to live and work. Moving beyond the image of Maine as a tourist destination replete with lobsters and lighthouses, the City is implementing a workforce development strategy that targets people who value what makes Portland special, including the vibrant arts and cultural scene.
Project Goals
What were the project goals?
To develop a brand that would be utilized by the City and partnering agencies to attract skilled professionals, entrepreneurs and creatives.
To build a collaborative relationship among related agencies to marshal and target resources.
Have they changed over time?
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
City of Portland Economic Development Division
Creative Portland (lead)
Portland Downtown District
Greater Portland Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Portland Regional Chamber
Project Specifics
How was the project implemented? What were the steps taken?
Formed an oversight committee
Developed trust and common goals
Worked with a brand consultant
Conducted interviews with key stakeholders
Reviewed recommendations by brand consultant
Sought buy-in from Mayor and City Manager
Have they been refined over time?
What were your major obstacles?
Waiting for buy-in from city officials for legal reasons
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
City staff, Creative Portland staff and pro-bono brand consultant
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
Find a champion in City Hall
Build relationships with related agencies around core need/goal
Avoid design by committee by finding a unanimously respected, trusted consultant
Project Impact
How has this project contributed to creative community building?
This project has raised the legitimacy and profile of Creative Portland's value to the larger economic goals of the city, and hence an indirect recognition of the importance of the creative community in Portland's identity.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
Still in progress. Time will tell. But, early impacts suggest that collective promotion by various partners will result in a unified message about the city and its attractiveness to creative-minded people.
Were there unexpected impacts?