Cambridge is now the ‘Soul of the Shore’

CAMBRIDGE – To mark its 20th anniversary, Downtown Cambridge – the new name for the city’s Main Street organization – unveiled on Jan. 23 “Soul of the Shore,” the group’s new branding and marketing campaign.

“This was over a year in the making,” Downtown Cambridge Director Katie Clendaniel said at the event.

The previous brand, “Water Moves Us,” had focused on the natural environment and its cultural impacts on the city. With new people and their businesses having come to town, the group recognized that an update in was in order.

“Let’s talk to people and see what they want,” was how Ms. Clendaniel described the beginning of the process. They ended up doing a survey of 250 people, conducted two focus groups, a number of individual interviews, and found some key points to emphasize in their efforts to promote local commerce.

Those points – that the city is “walkable, dinable and boatable,” as Ms. Clendaniel put it, were incorporated in the new brand, but only after different versions were tried and discarded. Now, though, the soulfulness of the city is presented to the public in a way that highlights not only history and culture, but also the determination of the town’s residents to succeed.

The marketing campaign is designed to attract shoppers and diners to downtown, where they can “sip, savor and stroll,” as another of the group’s slogans puts it.

Those aren’t just words, though – they are carefully chosen terms distilled from information gathered through the past year. “During our research, we learned that Cambridge has a distinct reputation for delivering an authentic Eastern Shore experience in a friendly, down-to-earth environment, that shares a deep connection with our waterways,” Ms. Clendaniel said in a prepared statement.

The project also helped foster cooperation among various groups active in the area’s development, including the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, as well as city and county governments.

“I can see so much more interaction between all our groups,” Downtown Cambridge Board of Directors Vice President Valerie Brown told the crowd gathered at the launch. “Everybody is working together to show that we are the ‘Soul of the Shore’”.

During the launch, the organization also introduced a new website, distributed the 2018 event calendar, showcased a digital advertising campaign, and handed out stickers featuring the “Soul of the Shore” brand.

The website is a “more professional product, more useful to the community,” Ms. Clendaniel said. “You can submit an event and add it to our calendar.” Tickets can also be sold through the site, she said.

Patrick Fanning, owner and operator of five Cambridge businesses, and a newly appointed member of the board, applauded the all-volunteer promotions committee for developing a creative identity that will help inspire and attract patrons to ‘sip, savor and stroll’ downtown.

“Visitors to our restaurants often comment on Cambridge’s scenic waterfront, and food, craft beer and arts scene. Soul of the Shore authentically reflects our community’s best assets.”

Work on the campaign was funded in part by a grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
Facilitated by Choptank Communications, a brand marketing firm based in Cambridge, the design and typography evoke the neon signs that once punctuated department stores, jazz clubs and theaters. The gradient colors of blue, gold, orange and red reflect the colors prevalent in the waterfront community’s spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

Ms. Clendaniel announced two business leaders who joined the all-volunteer board in 2018: Michael Wheatley, SafeLock Properties, and Dormaim Green, Exit on the Bay Realty.

The organization also recognized four new volunteer board members who joined in 2017: Dovile Cropper, Butterfly Boutique; Cecil Johnson, Cambridge Spice Company; Stephyn Butcher, local resident; and Patrick Fanning, Cambridge Eateries.

Downtown Cambridge works to advance our historic, waterfront destination by enriching the lives of residents and visitors through art, entertainment, cultural and business opportunities. Downtown Cambridge is a nonprofit volunteer organization that brings businesses, jobs, customers, and entertainment to the core of our community while staying true to our town’s rich history.

Learn more about Downtown Cambridge’s mission, businesses and many events at www.DowntownCambridge.org.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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