Although they just joined forces a few months ago, the Princeton Chamber has already planned a major marketing event with the Plainsboro Business Partnership (PBP).
The chamber and the PBP will host a networking and business showcase on Wednesday, June 13, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Plainsboro Village Center’s Fountain Park, just outside of the Plainsboro Public Library. The event is free and features food catered by Plainsboro-based Crown of India restaurant.
According to Cheri Durst, director of events for the chamber, tables will be set up to allow businesses the opportunity to market their goods and services by offering free promotional products, samples, and information.
“There is hope that an ancillary benefit of the event will be an increased shopping population, and thus additional revenue in Plainsboro during a summer weeknight,” she adds.
Although the event is modeled after the chamber’s Midsummer Marketing Showcase, held annually in Palmer Square (that event is on Tuesday, July 24, this year), the hope is that the PBP showcase will help distinguish Plainsboro as a premier business location.
“Plainsboro is next to Princeton but never really considered along with Princeton,” says Raul Gutierrez, an event organizer as well as co-chairman of the PBP’s steering committee.
Gutierrez, who owns an marketing firm and graphic arts firm, has spent 30 years helping brands grow to respected ranks in their industries. But in 23 years as a resident of Plainsboro, Gutierrez has not seen much progress in the way local businesses were presented in the greater Princeton area.
Gutierrez was born and raised in the Philippines — his mother was a homemaker and his father was a colonel in U.S. Army. He earned his BFA from the University of Santo Tomas in 1980 and then attended the Pratt Institute in New York City, where he earned a master’s in communications design.
Prior to establishing his Plainsboro-based firm, Raul Gutierrez Design, in 2006, Gutierrez held leadership positions at international branding firms Siegel & Gale and Landor Associates, and architecture and interior design firms such as Gensler and Daroff Design.
His firm has worked with high-profile corporate clients including AT&T, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bausch & Lomb, Comcast, Credit Suisse, Dell, Ernst & Young, ING, Lehman Brothers, Lenovo, and the International Olympic Committee.
Gutierrez helped design the logo for Dell Computers at a time when the PC industry was hungry for defined branding and later he worked with Caterpillar from 1994 to 2001 on visual systems, signage, print design, and environmental graphics. He played an integral role in transforming a mundane equipment maker into a cache trademark with “CAT” appearing on T-shirts, hats, and especially boots — very fashionable among Europeans, he says.
For “CAT” Gutierrez’s goal was to create a clearer projection of the company’s values, competencies, personality, and positioning. He says the focus was exemplified by the slogan that could also apply to his work in Plainsboro: “It’s not what we make that makes us proud, but what we make possible.”
To that aim, Gutierrez is dedicating his time and professional expertise to help the PBP spark more recognition for township businesses. He has designed a new logo for the group to make a more pronounced professional statement and also developed the PBP’s new tagline — “Where Business Grows.”
Gutierrez says Plainsboro may be small, but it contains huge corporate footprints, boasting giants like Bristol Myers-Squibb, Novo Nordisk, and Integra Life Sciences.
Gutierrez recalls the early 1990s when the town’s businesses were less visible, and there was no organization to bring them to the forefront.
He wants to help change that, and for Plainsboro the timing has never been better. The University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro is now open; New Jersey Transit’s 655 bus route now connects Princeton and Plainsboro; and the township has stepped up its efforts to promote itself through an all-new website and marketing brochures.
Gutierrez says he hopes these factors combined with the PBP’s objectives will bode well for the township. “Eventually the employees from major corporations and the new hospital will venture out into our little downtown area, and they should be made aware of what businesses are located here.”