By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The city government is standing behind its new branding logo after the Dec. 10 reveal prompted mixed reactions on social media.
In a City of Dearborn Government Facebook post the green, white, yellow and blue logo representing “manufacturing background; our mosaic of people, traditions, and neighborhoods; and our connectedness” was met with several comments.
“I support the goals/ideas behind this branding,” a comment by Michell Cooke read. “However, the logo is so bad. It completely casts aside the tradition, charm, history and quaintness that is unique to Dearborn. Rather it conjures up a Waste Management logo, which implies Dearborn is a dump. This is a good logo, in the wrong context. It only tells part of the story of our great city.”
Resident Khodr Farhat commented, “I personally appreciate and understand all of the strategic goals behind approving this logo that are listed in the article, however, there is a big percentage of residents who are not happy with it. It will not hurt to reconsider.”
Another resident, Carrie Kushnir, commented, “This is horrible. It looks like the logo of a big corporation in a video game that is responsible for a zombie virus or something. My god.”
On the positive side Cathrine Trautman commented, “I think if Dearborn wants to portray itself as the City of Innovation, this logo is dynamic, modern, and forward. I do appreciate the precious logo. However Dearborn is much more than just the hometown of Henry Ford.”
Dearborn Public Information Director Mary Laundroche said the new logo is just one aspect of the branding Dearborn campaign spearheaded by Downtown Dearborn.
“Our message — our focus is helping people understand that the branding campaign is more than the visuals and logo and that we’re investing in Dearborn for the long haul to get out the positive messages about Dearborn,” Laundroche said. “It was an extensive process that included many stakeholder meetings to help us develop the messages and stories behind the branding campaign. All that information formed the development of the logo to convey the personality and characteristics that our community members had worked with us to promote.”
The city government seal will remain and will be used for official city business while the “D” logo will be used as a marketing tool for the city allowing for flexible usage.
According to the press materials, “the hexagon shape is inspired by both the beehive, symbolizing community, and nuts and bolts, supporting the theme of hands-on innovation. The rounded corners convey friendliness and approachability, much like the personality of Dearborn.”
The year-long process to unveil the logo was developed through feedback of more than 1,900 community members and business owners in addition to more than 30 stakeholders who took part in the brand strategic planning efforts.
That included leaders from the the city and its downtown development authorities, Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, Ford Land and other major Dearborn institutions.
The total contract amount for the development and implementation of the branding campaign is $480,000.
The WDDDA and EDDDA contributed $179,000 and $147,500, respectively; city of Dearborn $50,000; Ford Motor Co. $100,000; and Fairlane Town Center $3,500.
“The branding campaign is meant to be a multi-year project, meaning the development and implementation stages are meant to cross over several years,” Laundroche said. “The campaign is spearheaded and managed by the DDDAs. Because of that, their contributions are the largest amounts. The city’s portion of the branding campaign was approved in 2015.”
“All steps of this process were ultimately shaped by those who know what makes Dearborn unique, including its amenities and sense of belonging, and at the same time, are able to identify new opportunities for growth and evolution,” Sheppard-Decius said.
“Given the variety of socioeconomic demographics represented, this brand offers past, present and future residents and business owners the opportunity to rediscover Dearborn in a new way and strengthen community pride. The rollout of this initiative does not reflect an end to a process, but rather, a beginning opportunity to embrace and live out a brand that reinforces Dearborn’s legacy as a city defined by talent, drive and diversity.”
According to the press release, a list of strategic goals shaped the effort, and with this reimagined brand now under way, Dearborn aims to attract and retain top talent; encourage the workforce and college students to live, play and stay in Dearborn; drive complementary businesses to locate and operate in the districts and support the downtown vision; increase commercial and residential property values; and drive tourism and enhance area colleges’ brand appeal and student population growth.
“Dearborn is a very welcoming community, with a strong sense of identity,” Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said. “We’re proud that people from many backgrounds have chosen us as their home and place to engage with neighbors in so many different ways. We have what you need here, and you’re close to the best the region has to offer.
“We’re known for our innovation, and we’re taking yet another forward-looking step by encouraging people to promote how great it is to be part of the Dearborn community, whether you live here, work here or invest here.”
In November 2018, the city launched the Branding Dearborn initiative aiming to gather community members – residents, business owners, community leaders, employees and beyond – to better understand and articulate what makes Dearborn and its downtowns interesting, special and an ideal place to live, work and play, a Dearborn press release said.
Laundroche said the city hopes people spend some time, if they can, on the branding website to learn more about the initiative or review information available to the public. She also said there are additional educational conversations relating to the branding initiative planned for next year.
For more information the Branding Dearborn campaign go to www.brandingdearborn.com.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])