In February, Mount Clemens is expected to select a firm to work with for a new branding project. The city is looking to promote itself as a center for the arts, entertainment and dining.

In February, Mount Clemens is expected to select a firm to work with for a new branding project. The city is looking to promote itself as a center for the arts, entertainment and dining.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Mount Clemens introduces branding project

By: Alex Szwarc | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published January 23, 2021

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MOUNT CLEMENS — A branding project will soon launch in Mount Clemens.

At the City Commission’s first meeting of 2021 earlier in the month, City Manager Don Johnson said he put together a committee to review proposals and work with a firm for a branding project.

The group includes Brandon Bowman, director of the Mount Clemens Public Library; Phil Gilchrist, executive director of the Anton Art Center; and Maria Zardis, director of the Macomb County Economic Development Program. City workers on the committee include Community Development Director Brian Tingley, City Manager Secretary Nicole Ratusznik and Johnson.

Johnson said, as of mid-January, a request for proposal is complete, and 24 proposals were received.

“The project is one of the goals that came out of the City Commission strategic planning session. They wanted us to go through a rebranding of the city,” he said. “When we say a brand, that’s not referring to a logo. It’s referring to how we identify Mount Clemens. We can come together on how we want to promote the city.”  

Johnson mentioned he’s not sure if Mount Clemens has ever gone through a project like this before.

In his career in local government at places such as Royal Oak, Johnson has been part of other branding campaigns.

“First, you have to select someone to work with,” he said. “Then it’s a matter of sitting down with different groups of officials, employees and other organizations to talk about the city and how they perceive it, what they think the high points are, and what we should be promoting.”

Johnson said it’s harder to do a project like this for a city than for a private entity.

“We’re into so many broad and different things,” he said. “There are so many organizations that each may look at one or two of those things as being the most important thing we do to them.”

In his time with Royal Oak, Johnson said the city was already known as an entertainment destination.

“We wanted to promote that but also promote it as a residential location,” he said.

For Mount Clemens, Johnson views its art presence and having the Clinton River running through it as some of the strong points to draw on.

“The commission has already established an ‘uptown’ theme of Mount Clemens being the uptown of Macomb County,” he said. “They want it to be a center for the arts, entertainment and dining. We have a big start on having the art city claim. We have a very good public art program for a city our size.”

Regarding the river, he said it’s a unique attribute for the city, adding that not many cities have a river flowing through downtown.

When asked how he thinks the city is viewed at the county and regional level, Johnson said there hasn’t been the greatest public image of Mount Clemens at times.

“We’re a very mixed city in terms of housing,” he said. “I think we have an awful lot to offer. We have nice little restaurants.”

Proposals were due Jan. 6 with selection of the firm expected to come before the Commission in February.

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