Thank you for your coverage on the new VisitSaline.com website and the Salt Springs Brewery in your edition of the Saline Post this morning. However, I was disappointed to see your other rather misguided article about your opinions on the new brand campaign for Saline at www.thesalinepost.com/section/opinions/blog/live-transmissions/news-guy-lightly-salty-about-new-community-brand/1437694038.
Please allow me to set the record straight for you, and I hope you will do the same for your readers.
The idea for a new brand campaign for Saline first came about in the summer of 2013, as local business and community leaders were recognizing the need to update the previous BE SAL!NE campaign with a new brand initiative that could better define Saline as a unique destination worth visiting, and that Saline's residents, business owners and organizations could better identify with and rally behind. In fact, July of 2013 was the point at which Saline-based communications firm JenMotion Marketing first proposed to a group of community leaders what later became Saline's new tagline, "A Taste of the Good Life, Lightly Salted". This of course was long before the new Salt Springs Brewery was announced, and even before the new Salt Springs Park was discovered and named.
In 2014, the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce had the good fortune to receive a Community Tourism Action Plan (CTAP) grant from the Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, with the grant to be used to help promote tourism in Washtenaw County. This provided the impetus to help bring a new brand campaign for Saline to life, and the Saline Chamber hired local firms JenMotion Marketing and Design Hub to develop a new brand identity and a new visitor website, respectively, for Saline.
The core precepts for any successful destination branding campaign are that the brand must be Unique, Relevant, and Memorable and establish a "Sense of Place" for the community. Under the 2014 Saline CTAP program, the Saline Chamber and JenMotion Marketing conducted a thorough market research analysis to define the characteristics that really make Saline unique and upon which a solid brand campaign could be built. As a result of this research, six different tagline options were developed and tested in 2 different community focus groups consisting of local business, government, school and organization leaders as well as Saline residents. The winning tagline solution and brand platform that was validated by the research and testing process, however, was the idea that had been first proposed the year before. The idea that sets Saline apart from all the other charming little red-brick towns in Michigan. The idea that capitalizes on Saline's fascinating history while also celebrating its modern-day attractions. The unique identity that no other town can claim - the name SALINE, named for its natural salt springs. In short, the inspiration that makes you want to spend some time in Saline and experience, "A Taste of the Good Life, Lightly Salted."
The fact that we now have a new Salt Springs Park and Salt Springs Brewery coming to town are further proof that highlighting Saline's unique history and namesake to set our town apart and make it a destination worth visiting is a good idea whose time has come. While it might make a nice story to say there was strategic foresight in coordinating the naming of the new brand campaign, the brewery and the park, the truth is it was a happy accident - different groups were working on different projects at different times, but with the same guiding idea that Saline's "salty" history is intriguing and unique and worth promoting. There was no "collusion" between Saline business owners, city government and the Chamber to help certain businesses succeed as you inferred in your article. Rather, there was simply the recognition that Saline now has an opportunity to leverage the synergies that its new brand campaign has created to help ALL Saline businesses and the community as a whole succeed by attracting more people to shop, dine, and play here. That is the goal of every good destination branding campaign, and the intended result of this one.
Thank you for your long standing commitment to tell the world about Saline - a commitment that I as a 15-year Saline resident, a proud parent of Saline school students, and a dedicated business owner in downtown Saline enthusiastically share. It's a wonderful thing when there is so much good news to share about our fine town that it results in multiple news releases going out on the same day. THAT is the only reason you received both news releases attached to the same email. However, if you'd like to have your inbox cluttered up with multiple emails taking more time for an editor on deadline to go through in the future, I'm sure that can be arranged. :) Just trying to free up more of your time to focus on all of the positive things happening in Saline to benefit the community as a whole.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment. In Saline Spirit,
(Jennifer Weaver is the owner of Jenn Motion)