City searches for new motto

Published 9:48 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Suffolk is in the preliminary phases of coming up with a new motto to carry it into the future.

Suffolk City Council members said during their retreat they would like to start planning to find a new slogan to represent Suffolk.

“We’ve been surprising, we’ve been at a good time … it’s time to start looking new and different and fresh,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said last week.

Johnson referred to the city’s past mottos. In the 1980s, Suffolk branded itself “Surprising Suffolk,” often followed by the tagline “Virginia’s Largest City.”

In 2001, a Suffolk on the verge of explosive population and investment growth decided it was “A Good Time to Be in Suffolk.” That catchphrase still pervades the Suffolk experience, from economic marketing materials and the mayor’s annual State of the City speech to the city Web site and downtown parking signs.

At the council retreat, Debbie George, media and community relations director, spurred discussion on the issue by asking the council members if the “good time” message was the one they still wanted to project, based on the direction of the city.

“It was asking if it still worked for them, if it’s time to look for something new,” George said.

Any new marketing effort likely would be produced with in-house talent as much as possible, George said, using outside professionals only where needed. Because they only are in the preliminary phases, it is not yet known how the new slogan would be decided.