Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 10, 2012

Bluefield city manager launches: ‘Team Blue. It starts with you’ PR campaign

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Jim Ferguson, Bluefield city manager, is looking for more than 10,000 people to deputize as part of a public relations campaign aimed at unifying the city’s population in a combined effort to make positive change in the city.

“The city of Bluefield is actively seeking those individuals who love the city and want to make a difference,” Ferguson said. “We have a population of roughly 10,500 people right now. We would like to draw on the combined power of all those citizens to make a difference in our city.”  He quoted a slogan that he learned through his work with Rotary that, “when everyone works together, the impossible becomes possible.”

Ferguson placed the physical manifestation of this public relations effort on the face of a blue badge that includes a stylized mountain ridge line with a sun rising into a partly cloudy sky with the slogan: “Team Blue Let’s Make it Ours! The city of Bluefield, WV.” The concept is in such an early stage that Ferguson and the two graphic artists he’s been working with are still tweaking the message on the badge.

“Another part of the slogan is: ‘Team Blue begins with you,’ followed by the: ‘Let’s make it ours,’ phrase,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been working with Becky Russell, a graphic artist who graduated from Graham High School, but now lives in Charlotte, N.C., and Corey Frazier of the Cole Automotive marketing department to develop the badges.

“When I became city manager, one of my personal goals was to come up with a PR campaign that would bring us together,” Ferguson said. “Becky came up with the idea of: ‘Team Blue. It belongs to you. Let’s make it ours,’ and she and Corey put their minds together for the design.”

Ferguson said that when he sees someone doing something positive that will help the city, regardless of whether it is a big or small act, he plans to walk up to them and ask them if he can deputize them as a member of Team Blue.

“If you wear the badge on your chest, that means that you are a person who takes pride in your city,” he said. “I want people to wear them, and when they are asked what it means, I hope they will explain what they were doing when they received their badge.

“It doesn’t have to be something big,” Ferguson said. “People can support their community by shopping locally. Property owners can make a difference by taking care of their property.

“When I was young, my mother always told us kids to tidy up our home when company was coming,” Ferguson said. “Well, company is coming into our town in the form of people wanting to relocate to this area and new businesses that might want to locate here. We need to straighten up our property for when they come to town.”

Ferguson said that if he can see an action that will help make a positive difference in the city, he will ask the person responsible if they will allow Team Blue to deputize them.

“I want people to wear the badges as a symbol of pride in the city,” he said. “It’s all about teamwork. It’s about bringing us closer together,” he said.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com