Ocean City, New Ad Firm Get To Work ‘To Create A Unique Brand’

OCEAN CITY — Although some staffers have already been working with the town’s new advertising agency in the early weeks since the contract was inked, resort tourism officials this week got a formal introduction to the new firm.

In December, the Mayor and Council confirmed BVK as the new town’s new advertising firm. While BVK is already in the process of developing a new brand and new campaigns for Ocean City, the Tourism Commission on Monday heard from the firm and Marketing and Communications Director Jessica Waters.

“We’ve had great meetings with them,” she said. “We’re trying to create a brand for Ocean City. We’re all in agreement about taking our time and getting it right. … They want to tell the special stories in Ocean City. Everybody has something unique to tell. It will allow our business community to tell their stories and send them directly to us. There is a lot of opportunity there.”

BVK Senior Vice President Matt Stiker said the firm is already developing a strategy for Ocean City.

“It’s a really fired up team,” he said. “The contract was signed just two weeks ago today and we’re hitting the ground running. We’re going to give you a really good foundation.”

Stiker outlined the process for developing Ocean City’s branding and marketing strategy. The steps include an audit of the current brand and category, developing a brand strategy, design and activate the creative elements, and, finally, learn and optimize that strategy.

“We must build Ocean City’s brand on a strong and strategic foundation,” he said. “We’re in this for the long haul. We believe in the destination. Research is happening, stakeholder interviews are happening. We are running on three parallel paths. There is too much of an economic impact at stake.”

Those parallel courses include an immediate path, which is utilizing the existing creative assets. The short-term path includes creating an interim campaign for spring and summer. Finally, the medium to long-term path is developing a full brand campaign going forward.

Business and Tourism Development Director Tom Perlozzo is excited about the quick turnaround for the BVK team.

“They spent two-and-a-half days with us to get their feet wet,” he said. “They have a very talented team and we’re excited to have them on board.”

Perlozzo said the resort’s business community is ready to have a fresh start with rebranding and marketing.

“One of the things I’ve heard from many of our businesses is we really need to create a unique brand,” he said. “We’re anxious to see how that works. It needs to be a constant trickle of positive information.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.