Branding Dearborn celebrates public launch

Photo by Zeinab Najm Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. speaks about the importance of public input for the Branding Dearborn initiative during the project’s launch Nov. 1 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.

Photo by Zeinab Najm
Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. speaks about the importance of public input for the Branding Dearborn initiative during the project’s launch Nov. 1 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Community feedback was the main message stressed during the launch of the Branding Dearborn initiative on Nov. 1 by Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. and Downtown Dearborn Executive Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius.
“The project will gather community – from residents, business owners, community leaders, employees and beyond,” according to an event press release, “to better understand and articulate what makes Dearborn and its downtowns interesting, special and an ideal place to live, work and play.”

Sheppard-Decius said the project has been two years in the making and, according to the project’s website “it grew out of the strategic planning effort for Downtown Dearborn that began in 2015.”

During the launch held at Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, Sheppard-Decius explained the importance of knowing what Dearborn is or means to the people who live in the city along with those who visit.
“We want to put together a compelling story on why people should come to Dearborn to live, invest, play and open businesses here,” she said. “We are asking residents to fill out the survey because the information it will gather is monumental.”
According to the timeline on the project’s website, survey results will be presented to a task force on Jan. 4; the survey results will be posted online on Jan. 11; a visioning work session is scheduled for Jan. 18; the Dearborn brand story will be delivered on Feb. 23; the development of the logo and design system will take place from February to May and the campaign and communications planning is set for February and March.
There are two 10-minute surveys posted on the Branding Dearborn website, one for business owners and one for residents, both available in English and Arabic. The survey touches on all aspects of Dearborn now and in the future. All responses must be submitted by Nov. 25 and will remain anonymous.
Anyone who fills out a survey will be entered for a chance to win rewards from organizations, businesses and people in the city.
“The Branding Dearborn project and survey will help us develop an idea of who we are and what we want to be as a city so we can then execute and achieve the ideas,” O’Reilly said. “We want as much input as possible to have the broadest range of ideas and narrow them down to the things we can actually do.”
For residents who prefer to fill out the survey by hand, the following locations will have them available: ACCESS – East Dearborn Campus, ACCESS – South End Campus, Alcamo’s, American Moslem Society, Arab American Museum, Biggby (east), Brome Modern Eatery, Bryant Library, Centennial Library, Common Grace Coffee Company, Dearborn Administrative Center, Dearborn Fresh, Dearborn Italian Bakery, Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, Esper Library, Hashem’s, Henry Ford College, Henry Ford Health System – Fairlane Medical Center, Joe’s Top Dog, Mighty Oak, New Yasmeen, Qahwah House and Roman Village.
The project will be guided by an advisory board and branding committee with local community leaders and city employees in order to reach a regional, state, national and global audience, Sheppard-Decius said.
According to BrandingDearborn.com the seven goals for the project are to attract and retain top talent; encourage the workforce to live, play and stay in Dearborn during the work day, after hours and on weekends; drive complementary businesses to locate and operate in the districts and support the downtown vision; engage stakeholders of all kinds and encourage stakeholder investment; increase commercial and residential property values in Dearborn; drive tourism and encourage students to live, stay and play in Dearborn while enhancing area colleges’ brand appeal and student population growth.
For more information on the Branding Dearborn project or to fill out the survey go to BrandingDearborn.com
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)