Maine’s New Maritime Marketing Message

The boat building business is a hallmark of Maine’s marine industry, and a new branding strategy aims to promote a fresh, new image.


Population (2006): 1,321,574

Largest Cities (2006): Portland, 63,011; Lewiston, 36,011; Bangor, 31,008; South Portland 23,784

Targeted Industries: Aquaculture and marine technology, technologies for forestry and agriculture, biotechnology, composite materials, environmental technology, information technology, precision manufacturing

Key Incentives: Pine Tree Development Zone Program, Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement program, Maine Technology Institute, Employment Tax Increment Financing, Research Expense Tax Credit

Maine”s $650 million boating industry is inseparable from the state’s sea-faring history, coastal landscape, and promising future. In March, Maine launched a new, comprehensive brand strategy for its boat building and marine trade operations to protect its maritime business.

Bolstered by a $15 million federal grant funded through Maine’s North Star Alliance Initiative (NSAI), the new brand strategy resulted from a discovery process driven by the industry itself; visual images and marketing strategies were developed based on information and feedback collected through extensive interviews with boat builders throughout Maine.

The brand aims to capture the relationship between boat builders and buyers based on a shared appreciation for pride in ingenuity and the integrity of a Maine-built boat. Components of the brand strategy include a new slogan, “Art and Soul,” and logo; brand imagery and messaging; new market development tactics; public relations initiatives; a cohesive industry presence at key boat shows; and Web site development. A consumer campaign includes targeted placements in statewide, national, and international media.

The newly designed Web site,, launched on March 17, features the new brand imagery, an expanded photo gallery and member profile section, launch and event listings, and industry news.

As the campaign stimulates new markets, a series of educational workshops and seminars are being organized simultaneously to teach boat builders how to promote their individual businesses competitively. “This is new territory for many of our builders,” says Jane Wellehan, president of Maine Built Boats. “They are stepping out into the world in a new way.”

The NSAI focuses on building capacity and addressing gaps in four pillars of economic development: workforce development; research and development; capitalization and infrastructure development; and market/business development.