The City of Bakersfield and the County of Kern are working to improve public image through a branding campaign that's in the works.
The Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce released preliminary research on Monday that will help with the branding. The research consisted of surveys and studies done on Bakersfield and Kern County, and was gathered by the company North Star, who also helped with Tehachapi's "Live Up" brand campaign.
The surveys were given to community leaders, residents and people who live outside the county to get a better grasp on what people think about Bakersfield and Kern County. The results varied; people were more likely to recommend opening a business in the city or county than they were to recommend visiting or moving here.
Another key finding in the study: people who live outside of Kern County had a more favorable view of both the city and the county than people who live here.
"I think sometimes we are our own worst critics and we aren't very good ambassadors of our community," said Steven Teglia, assistant city manager of Bakersfield.
The research also listed assets for the city and county, such as affordable living and quality of life, while listing challenges (like poor air quality and homelessness) as well.
"I think we want to accentuate the positives, and also be aware of the perceived negatives and find a way to mitigate some of those impacts," Teglia said.
The research is phase one of a full-fledged rebranding of the City of Bakersfield and Kern County, and is a joint partnership between the city, the county, the chamber of commerce and businesses in the private sector. They're hoping this will eventually lead to a concise branding image, with things like a slogan and a logo, while also encouraging economic growth in the area by attracting businesses and future residents.
The research released Monday is part of Phase 1. The second phase will focus on recruitment and tourist strategies, as well as implementing what was learned in the research. Nick Ortiz from the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce says the process will be a long one and there isn't a set timetable at this point, but he's expecting progress by early 2019.