Still making history.
These three words, together with a logo that can be seen as either a sailboat or witch hat, were unveiled yesterday as a new brand Salem will use to sell itself.
"We want this to be a tool for communication and for sharing what we are here in Salem," said Kate Fox, executive director of Destination Salem.
A nonprofit funded by a combination of city money and advertising dollars, Destination Salem is charged with promoting the city and attracting visitors. The group paid Rattle, a Beverly advertising, design and marketing firm, $25,000 to create the logo and tag line.
When it was first shown at the end of a video about the city, the Salem business owners and managers who gathered in a Peabody Essex Museum auditorium broke into applause.
"I'm super excited about it," Mayor Kim Driscoll said. "What it says to me is that the more we change and grow, in many respects, the more we stay the same."
The dual-purpose logo acknowledges Salem's popular "Witch City" identity but also celebrates its maritime roots.
"We're reclaiming our waterfront history," Driscoll said, highlighting the recent success of the Salem ferry and the city's plan to develop a pier that attracts cruise ships.
Rinus Oosthoek, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, praised the brand's versatility, saying it could be embraced by the city's tourism industry along with Salem State University and Salem Hospital.
"It fits in all aspects," he said.
The witch hat/sailboat logo hovers like an accent over the "em" of Salem. Its creator, Joe Higgins, said the city needed "a visual identity that ties everything together."
"It's not stereotype," Higgins said. "It has got movement to it. It's looking forward."
The brand will help fuel the momentum that has picked up in Salem in recent years, Sally Murphy of Rattle said. More than 60 new restaurants and retail establishments have opened in the past 18 months, according to Destination Salem.
"Building a great brand helps to entice people to come here, and that will help to strengthen the economic base," Murphy said.
The city increased its contribution to Destination Salem to make the branding work possible.
By committing half of the revenue generated by the hotel/motel tax to the group, the city was able to provide $187,000 this year.
Rattle, which has previously worked with such clients as Boston Harbor Cruises, New England Aquarium and Brigham's Ice Cream, began its work in August.
The next step, Fox said, is developing a strategy with the company to implement the brand into the city's marketing efforts.
It will eventually be available to Salem businesses to use, as well.
"This is a way to brag about the fact that your business is located in Salem," Fox said before Destination Salem's annual meeting adjourned.
"I love the icon," said Joe Mancuso, general manager of Salem Beer Works. "It simplifies a lot of stuff."
The witch image has historically "dominated" Salem's marketing, Mancuso noted, and he said he appreciated that, while it is still present, other pieces of Salem are expressed, as well.
Al DeLeon, director of the Salem Wax Museum and Salem Witch Village, said the brand did an "amazing job" blending Salem's history and culture.