VINELAND - City officials on Monday announced the beginning of what they said is likely the first unified marketing and branding initiative in the municipality's history.

Billboards, water towers, advertisements, commercials and websites for city government and possibly other attractions and economic agencies will use the new "Vineland, New Jersey … Discover the Difference" logo.

The new effort followed what Mayor Ruben Bermudez said was four months of work to create a new message to help boost existing businesses, attract new commercial endeavors and improve pride in the city.

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"We believe the new slogan is a memorable and relevant brand that will help differentiate Vineland in the marketplace and ultimately generate additional revenue for the city and the business community," Bermudez said. "Our new brand is designed to market the city's assets as a whole and to influence opinion about Vineland as a business location and a destination to visit."

City officials said the endeavor is being funded by money already set aside in the local budget.

The new logo is not the only part of the new marketing and branding initiative, Bermudez said. Other parts include stepped-up code enforcement and beautification efforts, he said, and developing "stronger, safer neighborhoods."

"It's so exciting to be at the forefront of positive change," said City Councilwoman Angela Calakos. "That's what this administration is doing."

The city has spent years trying to reinvigorate its business community. A good portion of that effort was placed in the downtown Landis Avenue business district. The work involved upgrading storefront facades, opening new attractions, such as the Landis MarketPlace and the rebuilt Landis Theater, and developing a sort of fledgling restaurant row. The effort resulted in mixed results.

City Councilman Paul Spinelli said while building a strong downtown is important, so is helping to bolster businesses throughout the municipality.

"Wherever they have a business, we try to reach out to them," he said, adding they should be helped by a single marketing message.

Officials and business leaders attending the City Hall press conference for the marketing and branding announcement said the new enterprise will bring a myriad efforts together.

"We … hope to encourage the business community to embrace this new slogan and participate in this unified effort," said Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dawn Hunter.

City Council President Anthony Fanucci said the new slogan can be "easily incorporated alongside all city promotional efforts," including public events.

"Vineland has a number of assets and is a great place to live and work," he said. "It is definitely time we begin to tell our story to consumers throughout the region."

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