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The New 'Brand' of Bay City - Unveiled at Lincoln Center Tuesday Night 3/22/2005

Bay Area BrandPrint Provides Focus for Tourism, Development Efforts

"A Beautiful View of Life -- Bay City, Michigan" Draws Universal Admiration

March 23, 2005       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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The Bay Area BrandPrint was released to the public Tuesday night after a long process of research and creative development.

If the reaction of the crowd of 50 or more community leaders at the Lincoln Center is any indication, the brand will bea smashing success at "selling" tourism and economic development.

"We needed to discover a collaborative face for the community," said Mary Lou Beneke of Dow Corning Corp. "The timing for something like this is really great."

The logo, taglined: "A Beautiful View of Life . . . Bay City, Michigan," includes subtle touches like historic buildings accented by traditional lamplights, a tall ship and the city hall tower rising majestically over the "t" in city.

The brand depicts what surveys have shown that people see positively in Bay City: safe, friendly, waterfront, fun, historical, nice downtown, small town.

Most members of the 13-member steering committee and representatives of many of the 25 contributing organizations were on hand to applaud the brand and lay plans for community and economic development.

"We need to form a marketing cooperative," said an enthusiastic Shirley Roberts, executive director of the Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau,exclaiming: "Now that we have this wonderful thing we have to do something with it." A separate website dealing exclusively with the brand will also be developed, she said.

Leading the charge was Bob Adamowski of the Bay County Realtor Association which donated $1,500 for the first phase and has already committed $1,500 for the next phase of the campaign.

"We wanted to develop the best brand possible to identify the direction that can be taken in the marketplace and help the community identify on an emotional level with the customer," said North Star Destination Strategies' consulting firm representative Jeremy Griggs.

The Nashville, Tennessee, consulting firm has advised the Grand Ole Opry, the Opryland Hotel, the Opryland theme park, Diner's Club, Pigeon Forge Tourism and Beaches of South Walton.

Besides the brand, he unveiled a series of "foundation creative" ads "to provide a platform to tell the story of what will get you there."

The ads outline a testimonial campaign aimed at education, retirement, nurse recruitment, mobile entrepreneurs, business retention and growth, business-labor relations, leisure, meeting planners and tour group operators.

"The economic growth of a community is cyclical," said Mr. Griggs. "How a Bay City pulls out of the current economic downturn depends on how you pull together and use the brand."

The consultant pointed to research that shows that most requests for information about the community come from Flint (28%), Detroit and Grand Rapids, followed by Chicago, Lansing and Cleveland. Most visitors come from Detroit (20%), followed by Flint/Saginaw/Bay City.

Mr. Griggs suggested that a book be developed with a historial approach, characterizing the ethos of the community. A series of newspaper articles celebrating the people who are part of the brand was also suggested.

He also suggested "using the Internet since often dollars are not there for a big media campaign." A website, targeted news releases and marketing of discretionary meetings and events were other ideas put forward by the consultant.

"This is a small step in focusing all our energy to make people aware of what Bay City is," said Mayor Bob Katt, adding: "We're headed in the right direction."###



Crowd at release of brandprint includes community leaders from many sectors led by Shirley Roberts and Mary Lou Beneke.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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