Perceptions of Porirua are standing in the way of attracting new residents, the city council’s marketing guru says.
Communications and marketing manager Barbara Bercic is behind a revised marketing strategy to be considered by Porirua City Council next week, aiming to increase its population by 9600 people by 2031 through promoting the city as great value for money.
A minor quibble but she is a marketing manager, not a guru. Would we refer to the Council’s CGO as the council’s “numbers guru”?
She acknowledged that people outside the city associated it with the “rundown” eastern suburbs and CBD. “Their perceptions of those areas are that they are depressed, dirty and unsafe.”
But some of those perceptions are shared by the people who live there, according to a 2010 survey that showed a little over half of residents felt a sense of pride in the way their city looked and felt.
I agree when out of towners say something it is a perception. However if the actual people living there say it, well maybe is it more than a perception?
“While satisfaction with individual villages and lifestyles is high, pride in the name `Porirua’ is low and largely associated with the state housing areas and the CBD,” it said. “This view is most pronounced among people in the northern suburbs, younger age groups and households with an annual income of $100,000 or above.”
Mayor Nick Leggett said such perceptions were far from reality and the “city of villages” was a great place to live.
“I think that some people have an outdated view of the city … but we do suffer at times from poor perception.”
The country’s youngest mayor said he “totally owned” the nickname “P-Town” for the city, and used it daily.
“Some people think P-Town is like pure methamphetamine, whereas obviously those who are younger have different connotations.”
Victoria University senior marketing lecturer David Stewart disagreed, saying the use of P-Town reinforced the city’s stereotype.
“The problem with P-Town is that it has an association with drugs and low life, doesn’t it?”
Dr Stewart said he liked the idea of getting people to experience the city’s attractions rather than trying to hook them with a catchy slogan.
Mr Leggett said the Porirua district – which includes well-heeled suburbs such as Whitby, Aotea, Camborne and Pauatahanui – had the fourth-highest income per capita in New Zealand, had been judged one of the world’s most liveable communities, and had the lowest crime rate in the Wellington region.
It is correct that the name Porirua has negative connotations. It is also correct that the city as a whole is very nice place to live and work. Yes there are some suburbs that feature high in negative statistics, but they are a minority.
I have to say that I think P-Town isn’t a great alternative, as it does reinforce a perception of crime and frug use.
The name I have always liked since the mid 1990s (when I worked for the advertising agency for Porirua City Council) was Mana City. Mana is well known as a name for the wider area, while people do associate Porirua more with the problematic areas.
I bet you less than 1% of people in Whitby list their address as “Whitby, Porirua City”. However a fair few would not have a problem being “Whitby, Mana City”.