Mount Pleasant to undergo rebranding campaign

Mount Pleasant will reinvent its image after city commissioners indicated a desire to re-examine its current branding campaign.

Community Information Director Heather Smith spoke to the commissioners about the need for a new branding campaign at a work session following the city commission's Feb. 10 meeting.

Smith said collaboration between the city and Central Michigan University, Union Township, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and other groups is crucial to any campaign's success.

"Are we saying the same thing when we market? We should all have the same message," Smith said.

One of the biggest reasons she said the city's "Mount Pleasant Wow!" campaign never caught on was because of the lack of commitment from most outside groups excluding the visitor's bureau.

Vice Mayor Jim Holton said collaboration is the key to any new branding.

"I'm supportive if our partners are as well," he said. "You can't do this alone."

Smith said CMU has much to gain from collaborating with the city on how to brand Mount Pleasant as it looks to market itself to students in new ways.

"CMU knows the outlook of their enrollment numbers is down," she said. "It's important for them, then, to brand the community to help that."

Interim City Manager Nancy Ridley said money has already been set aside in the city's 2014 budget for new branding and signage, but it was important to gauge how commissioners felt before moving forward.

“We want to make sure you’re on board before we even take that next step,” Ridley said.

Smith said developing a campaign can cost between $30,000 and $50,000 and take six months to a year to implement, depending on what agency is chosen to lead the re-branding campaign.

Mayor Sharon Tilmann voiced support for the project.

“I hate the idea of spending money,” Tilmann said. “But on the flip side, I think it presents our community as firmly organized.”

Smith said a cohesive and reliable brand is crucial to increasing tourism and promoting economic success, not just in the city, but also throughout the region.


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