Petaluma launches campaign to attract business

  • Screen shot from Petalumastar.com

In a sign Petaluma may have finally turned the page on its reputation of being anti-business, the city has launched a branding campaign to attract new employers, employees and potential residents to its "Fertile Ground."

That earthy description is the theme, along with a logo of a five-pointed red star above a vintage-looking Petaluma, for a marketing effort designed to showcase Petaluma's charms and unique business opportunities.

The effort officially launched Friday night, as some of the businesses highlighted in the new website — Petalumastar.com — gathered to celebrate what they hope will be a renaissance of Petaluma's business esteem among the greater Bay Area.

Ingrid Alverde was hired in mid-2011 to fill the newly created position of economic development director. Her goal is to help small businesses develop locally and attract new businesses, essentially, she said, "to tell them why Petaluma is a premier business destination."

The city contracted with the Petaluma Design Guild to create a broad marketing strategy to highlight Petaluma's distinctive qualities.

The goal was to create a narrative "that would represent Petaluma as a whole, in its entirety, as the unique destination that it is," Alverde said.

"That is something that has been lacking in terms of being able to demonstrate the whole of Petaluma, for why a business would consider Petaluma a destination within the Bay Area against all the other communities we'd be competing against," she said.

Petaluma Design Guild founding member Christine Walker said the love of Petaluma showed through in the work of her group of about 10 design professionals who created a 12-page newspaper advertisement and website.

Through stories, visuals, testimonials and user-friendly data, the program depicts Petaluma as a town that respects its history and is ready for the future.

"In our focus groups, 'historic' was one of the top words that came up," Walker said. "<TH>'Innovative' also, and 'creative.' Another word that was really big was 'community.'<TH>"

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