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Does Tampa Bay Have an Identity Crisis?

Marketers say the Tampa Bay area has a bland identity and needs an 'elevator pitch' to boost tourism. What slogan would you use to describe our region?

Locals know the Tampa Bay area has awesome beaches, great parks, a sizzling Cuban flavor and really cool museums. The problem is out-of-towners don’t.

While Miami is known internationally as an urban chic vacation destination with beaches on the side and Orlando has the mouse to thank for its tourism prowess, Tampa Bay is lacking in the image department.

That lack of identity is something that concerns the folks at Spark, a Tampa marketing firm that’s been researching what people think of when they consider Tampa Bay.

"We do not have a brand," James Robbins, Spark’s brand director, told the Tampa Bay Times.

What’s the problem with that?

According to Robbins, when an area doesn’t have a brand, people start coming up with their own ideas of how to best describe it. This, Robbins pointed out by showing a Times’ reporter a picture of a local strip club, can be rather damaging.

Tampa Bay & Co., the Tampa/Hillsborough marketing agency agrees that the Bay area needs a unified brand to rally marketing efforts behind.

"We realized we needed to coalesce our message as to who we are and what this destination is in a succinct way," Tampa Bay & Co.’s marketing vice president Doug McLain told the Times.

Now the area’s marketing firms are trying to solidify a brand for Tampa Bay. And as they do so, we’d like to hear your thoughts.

If you were a marketer, what slogan would you use to describe the Tampa Bay area? Do you agree our image is a little on the bland side? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

DANIEL BARSHAY January 22, 2013 at 07:00 PM
S I Z E = S T R E N G T H "Insist on yourself. Be original." --Ralph Waldo Emerson "I am larger, better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness." --Walt Whitman
sparky January 22, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Sail and Sand - Life is Grand in Tampa Bay This is the sailing capitol of Florida and we should promote the great sailing that can be had on Tampa Bay and then the beaches and open water of the Gulf for relaxing, fishing, and gentle breezes. (Send royalty checks on a quarterly basis please.)
Kate M January 22, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Daniel Barshay--your commentary is outstanding.
Christine Petellat January 23, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Tampa Bay, Florida's Best Kept Secret!! I see flashes of all the things around the Bay.... We MUST include all parts of the Bay Area, from Beaches to Pro Sports, and from Convention areas to Theme Parks, and from fishing and boating to Night-Life and History, Casino to Cruise ships... I could go on. I would even get the Tampa Bay license plate!!! We ARE the Melting Pot of the GREAT Melting Pot. Visit Tampa Bay where you can play everyday!!!! I am so PROUD to be a Native of Tampa Bay!! This is a long overdue, great idea!!!!
james martin January 23, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Come here for the strip clubs, stay for the pill mills! And while you're here, file someones tax return!!!!! Yay!
Carol Zieres January 23, 2013 at 01:23 AM
Living on the Sunrise side of Tampa Bay, I love looking out across the Bay in the morning and seeing the silouette of the city's skyline draped against the back drop of a pastel colored sky. The cloud formations in the skies above Tampa Bay are also so interesting and beautiful!! I've lived all over the country and I've never seen clouds as beautiful as we have here. Perhaps, it's because of our superior air quality; no smog, nor industrial smoke stacks obscure our blue skies, and indeed, we have some of the most beautiful beaches on the West Coast of Florida, such as Caladesi Island, Clearwater Beach, and Fort Desoto. Tampa Bay is also known as the "Lightning Capital of the World," but I think it should be changed to the most "Enlightening Metropolitan Region" as we have everything to support good quality of life right here in our own back yards: besides good climate and pristine beaches, we have good universities, good healthcare system, art and science museums like the Dali and Mosi, port city to support shipping and cruiseline industry, plentiful golf courses, mineral springs Spa & resort fitness centers, spectacular variety of ethnic restaurants, seafood and American cuisine; year round art and music festivals, first class entertainers at Straz theater, Ruth Eckerd Hall, and Mahaffey theater, Mac Dill AFB, a classy and user friendly airport with a USO, Busch Gardens theme park, Marine Aquariums, Deep Sea Fishing, great shopping, wineries within a day's drive, etc.
michael mirra January 23, 2013 at 01:27 AM
Tampa Bay is one big city. I moved here 40 years ago from New York & one day I wasn't paying attention & my eyes landed on a map of Tampa-Clearwater-St. Pete. with the connecting bridges & I realized I was looking at a map of the boroughs of one city. The map looked like Brooklyn, Manhattan, & Staten Island all connected by the bridgework that unites them. That is why we are all one city. The seperation is the competition we have by being in seperate counties. Many years ago there was talk of making one county out of it called Gandy County. I think we should just call our city Tampa Bay & be one united Metropolitan area. Wait a minute that's what it is & that's what we already are. Lets recognize it in our hearts because we already know it. Right?
CJ January 23, 2013 at 03:49 AM
I have always had a way with coming up with slogans and have lived most of my life in Tampa. Born at Tampa General Hospital on Davis Island. I know the tri-county area very well along with the amazing waterways. That is what sets Tampa Bay apart the waterways connecting the whole region. The angle that will work is all around us waterways and now it is up to you to coordinate shops, resturants, nightclubs, and put together a variety of vacation packages targeting all of the different tastes of potential tourists and Venice type motorized transportation to bring them all together. Based on ages and known interests and have yacht tours, for the older more sofisticated and speed boats for the younger and from a quick search I just performed a local company called Yachtworld wilh the right plan, prepartion, people, advertizing all the the on the water hotspots and waterways, Tampa would be known worldwide for what we have always known its waterways connecting the tricounty area. What an amazing ad campain it will make tieing off to all of the amazing destinations just waiting to advertize in a project with real possibilities to being a recognizable brand to Tampa Bay the never ending, breathtaking waterways. And the catch phrase to bring it all home is " Play The Tampa Bay Way." As the amazing commercial advertizement unfolds highlighting the unforgetable, sights and sounds along our amazing waterways.
Chris January 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Come to St. Petersburg - It's not Tampa! (I've lived here two years and still haven't found any redeeming qualities for Tampa.)
Arnold Ziffell January 23, 2013 at 01:48 PM
As a native Floridian born in Tampa, I truly find it offensive when I hear or read about “Tampa Bay” that is a body of water, it could be a destination but it is a wet one. The cities that make up the area from Safety Harbor on the North to Tampa on the East Clearwater –St. Petersburg on the West and Bradenton on the South, all are different from each other in many ways and that is what makes them great, I am not particularly happy that others have found them come here and many have an attitude and insist on telling you how they “do it back home”. I also realize that my family is a minority in this environment…Please go back home!
CAPTAIN PAUL WARREN January 23, 2013 at 02:04 PM
My slogan suggestion: "Tampa Bay - We define 'Quality of Life'".
David Van Dyke January 23, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Tampa is the modern Key West...........
Auntie SueSue January 23, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Tampa Bay - Florida at its best!
michael mirra January 23, 2013 at 05:10 PM
My sugestion is takn from old Ray's adverisments. TAMPA BAY-THE LAND OF THE FREE & THE HOME OF THE RAYS
Michael D. January 23, 2013 at 05:14 PM
Tampa Bay - It's What's for Dinner Or Tampa Bay - It's not Orlando or Tampa Bay - The Different Sides of Florida
ted28 January 23, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Tampa Bay - Where every day is a gift.....
RevBox January 23, 2013 at 05:50 PM
How to brand Tampa Bay? Considering the comments posted so far: Tampa has potential and Bob Buckhorn is a dynamic guy to have as our Mayor - this is a start - the population needs to participate - outside of this meager forum. That means challenging the City Council, loudly, rejecting interference from outside bodies such as the CATO Institute or individuals like Randall O'Toole that advocate sprawl, irresponsible use of resources and rejoice in undermining progressive forward motion by any community. These influences and others need to be see as detrimental and subversive to our community's success. Dynamism is contagious and the region can make use of this empowerment. CentCom is a business - an important one for the region, however it is not a marketing pitch for tourism, private sector business or family life. The stink has to be addressed: Tampa water frontage is worthless if it smells bad (doesn't matter if at an outdoor restaurant (think Channelside reborn or sitting on a lushly gardened patio on Bayshore). Urban core density needs not only people, but business, recreation and TRANSPORTATION. 30 yrs for a LRS - too long! Outstanding architecture! The new developments underway and soon to break ground are awesome -we need more! They need to be visually and functionally stunning - people want to live in a beautiful space - so demand that these elements are addressed . A slogan to build a brand around: Tampa Bay: Lush, Beautiful and Room to Grow!
RD January 23, 2013 at 08:18 PM
I don't think a slogan is going to do it for our area. I think we have to stop being a laughing stock and stop comparing this area to truly great places. Someone from the City of Tampa once said Tampa Bay looks like Paris when the bridges are lit. I almost fell out of my chair. When I called him on it, he said he's been to Paris which leads me to believe he's blind and has no sense of smell. It would behoove the Tampa Bay area to listen to Daniel Barshay if they're serious about improving this area. He's spot on and has lots of constructive criticism and ideas. I think the politics of combining the area is what will keep us from ever becoming a great destination, though.
Barbi Kiser January 23, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Tampa Bay = Destination Fun (or Destination Sun). Tampa Bay = Total Bliss. Come to Tampa Bay, put your toes in the sand and your worries fade away. I would focus on the sun, sandy beaches, serene sunrises and sunsets - unlike anywhere else and a total feeling of good health and happiness. Tampa Bay - it IS a wonderful life!
Dave Deal January 23, 2013 at 11:44 PM
"Tampa Bay- Beats Des Moines"
Sherri Lonon January 24, 2013 at 12:36 PM
There are some great suggestions! I really like Tampa Bay - Florida at its Best! Anyone else have a creative slogan idea?
BOMX55 January 24, 2013 at 05:25 PM
FLAVOR AND ARTS with BEACHES ON BOTH SIDES (Tampa./Hillsborough Bay and Gulf of Mexico) - We have it all!
BOMX55 January 24, 2013 at 05:27 PM
If you like another place better, move...I have done it, all that can hold you back is fear! Try other places, there is nothing better than to be where you LOVE it! I kept going til I found it, you can too!
Sharon Short January 24, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Tampa Bay! We have it ALL! It can be yours!
RGo April 05, 2013 at 04:01 AM
Chris's comment about St. Pete just proves that your idea wouldn't hold water. It wouldn't win a referendum, let alone become one that we could all vote on. That being said, I do like your idea.
RGo April 05, 2013 at 04:09 AM
They have to consider that if the area is to remain viable then it's capital are its young people. Major corporations and diversified businesses have to become apart of Tampa Bay's fabric. Tampa Bay currently ranks as one of the lowest metros in the nation for college graduates. Each metro that makes up this region is literally at the bottom of the list. This means that its imperative that each work together o create a vibrant region that will continue to attract young adults and companies that offer high wage jobs. There has the be a marriage of the corporate, political and educational communities if Tampa Bay is to remain a thriving community.
RGo April 05, 2013 at 04:15 AM
I like the way you think!!!
RGo April 05, 2013 at 04:17 AM
Can you get Daniel Barshay(see his comments) a meeting w/local officials? He's got a vision that at lease Mayor Buckhorn would appreciate and even Mayor Poston of Bradenton,
RGo April 05, 2013 at 04:24 AM
Even Orlando is quietly building it rail system that will cover the city and its suburbs. Tampa has to wake up to transportation needs immediately. Orlando is already ahead of the game. Even Miami-Fort Lauderdale has the Tri-Rail and its expanding...it creates opportunities for growth, industries(with competitive wages, increased quality of life, etc.... Orlando's system will be up and running before Tampa gets started. We can't afford to continue as usual.
RGo April 05, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Most people settle down by age 35, and usually don’t move from one metro area to another after that. And the demographic group behind the millennials is a lot smaller. Just like baby boomers, the preferences of the millennials will drive our society for two generations. They’re making location decisions based on their idea of quality of life. And they’re going to make all those decisions in the next few years -- by the time they’re 35.

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