New Toledo Region branding

The next iteration of the Toledo Region branding effort was released yesterday. I was still out of town, so I did not get to participate in the Mud Hens/Walleye events where the new logo and slogan were debuted. But I did get to hear about the plans a few weeks ago.

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Some more information:

My thoughts:

  • A new logo was needed, because the “TR” was not that great, and because it was never really developed beyond “put this in your email signature to show support.” A logo needs to be positioned in a wide variety of contexts, adapted for many uses, yet still be a unifying element. Brand Columbus has flexibility and guidelines for use as an example. There has also been some thought into a visual language for the region (such as icons). A good start: lots more work to do for us here.
  • The “Toledo + Right-pointing caret” is good, but I worry that it will become a city-of-Toledo-only logo and not represent the region well. There is a regional version (with the word “region” on a ribbon under it), but it is not clear to me how well it will appeal to organizations across the region.
  • “It matters where you make it” should be a great campaign, but people may have a hard time understanding how it differs from the brand platform. This is the first real campaign developed from the platform. Eventually, campaigns end, having served their purpose, but the branding continues, with the platform driving what comes next.
  • Folks like to rag on “The Heart of the New Manufacturing Economy” because it does not apply to them (a small business owner, an insurance company, a talent recruiter, for example). That is because it was not intended as a message for them! It was supposed to be used for more traditional economic development audiences, like business leaders who are looking to move or expand their companies. “It matters where you make it” works better for talent recruitment and retention, and for resident morale, which I think is a good focus for a while.

I am excited to see the progress! Hopefully this iteration will spur wider adoption and increase financial backing. There are lots more things to do, and the Toledo region is not keeping up with the resources being invested by our competitors.