Berkley officials unveils proposed new branding: Be Berkley
Berkley — A proposed identity makeover for Berkley touts the Oakland County community as a coveted destination for those who live there and also prospective newcomers.
Terry N. Terry of MessageMakers in Lansing presented to city officials the slogan “Berkley — Where you want to be,” which some think would sum up the Oakland County bedroom community better than its traditional “We Care” motto that’s been on city signs for nearly a half-century.
In June, the City Council approved a $24,000 contract with MessageMakers to develop Berkley’s brand identity that will be used for the city’s website, street signs, social media and other forms of communication. Some city officials are eager to swap their current logo created 54 years ago by a high-school student, for a more modern, fresh symbol.
Monday’s presentation to the city council showed how signs and information could also emphasize the city’s potential by highlighting in red and capitals the first two-letters in the city’s name: as in Berkley.
“I wasn’t too impressed,” said 84-year-old Maybelle Fraser who earlier this year started a petition drive to retain the old logo — which displays a church, family of four, a book and Liberty Bell.
“To me this new idea seemed lacking and rather flippant,” she said. “It’s not very serious or to the point like the logo we now have which shows we value worship, family, knowledge and liberty in Berkley. What’s wrong with that?”
Fraser, a former mayor and council member, was disturbed enough about the re-branding plans that she gathered enough petitions to have the issue put on the ballot earlier this month. Berkley residents voted by a better than 3-1 margin to “retain its originally approved city flag established in 1961 and subsequent city logo and seal unless approved by the voters ... ”
Fraser feels that should be sufficient consensus for officials, but the city’s mayor, Phil O’Dwyer, said regardless of the vote the city would move forward with its study.
“We have a great community, we have great residents and businesses, and more coming,” Councilman Alan Kideckel said. “You can’t stay in the present forever or in the past. I want to see Berkley moving forward. Towards the future and keeping up with modern times.”
Kideckel said when he attended Wayne State University, the school’s teams were Tartars.
“Now they are called Warriors,” he said. “What’s the difference. It’s still a great school.”
“I want to hear people weigh in and how they feel (about the proposed logo),” he said. “This isn’t the council’s decision only.”
He said more than 300 people were part of a focus group drawn from neighborhoods, businesses and other stakeholders “who all discussed the idea of a new brand. We want input.”
City officials said they will post the Berkley and “Berkley — Where you want to be” information on the city’s website, but are taking no formal action. They have encouraged citizen input as the study is completed, likely by the end of this year.
Kideckel noted branding is an ongoing process in communities and in corporations.
A new identity
City branding has been in vogue in recent years, including in Oakland County suburbs.
■Southfield describes itself as “In the center of it all.”
■Birmingham boasts it is “a walkable community.”
■Troy calls itself “the city of tomorrow.”
■Ferndale uses the slogan “Ferndale moves!”
■Royal Oak adopted a linked red R and O with the tagline “Life Now Playing.”