Projects
  • Brand Strategy
  • Marketing Research
  • Logo Identity Development
  • Brand Rollout Strategy
  • Marketing Plan
  • Media Buying
  • Social Media Graphics
  • Billboards
  • Digital Advertising
  • Print Advertising
  • Signage
  • Video

About The City of Muskegon

The City of Muskegon is a diverse, up-and-coming West Michigan community with a rich history. Known as the Shoreline City due to the miles of Lake Michigan coastline within its boundaries, the City is also home to a booming downtown business community, a thriving arts and culture scene, and plentiful outdoor recreational opportunities. With an exciting outlook for the future, the City of Muskegon is an excellent place to live, work, and play. This was not always the case.

Their Situation
Our Solution
Work Samples
Brand Story
Client Testimonial
Their Situation

The City of Muskegon has a long history. It was great back in the day during the lumber era. Then, it went through some tough times with decades of issues that created a reputation that Muskegon was not terribly proud of.

Residents and businesses lived it and outside communities formed impressions of Muskegon that would be difficult for any community to overcome.

However, roughly over the past decade, Muskegon has been on the rise. The city isn’t the same place it used to be. Businesses are thriving, development is happening, and its reputation is finally in a new, wonderful place.

To add to the situation, Muskegon was using approximately 15 different logos across their communications, signage, apparel, vehicles, and marketing. The official city logo, that was often hard to pinpoint, was created in the early 90s.

It was time for the City of Muskegon to tell its new story and to evolve to an updated, exciting look and feel.

Our solution

We took back the narrative. Using Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” process, Kindred facilitated research with local residents and businesses and whiteboard sessions with elected officials to discover perceptions and feelings toward the city.

When branding a city, or “Place Branding” as it is sometimes called, you need a unique process that is inclusive and involves the entire community. We teamed up with the city to develop a new, more thorough process to ensure voices are heard from across the city. This included:

  • Phone interviews with city officials and commissioners
  • Town-hall forums with residents and business leaders
  • Focus groups with several age groups
  • Street interviews with residents
  • Multi-lingual online and print surveys

The results were almost overwhelming with over 1200 total responses, which is almost double the required Minimal Viable Sample Size needed to research to be considered relevant.

We used the data to create an honest and authentic brand story that properly positions the Muskegon of today, and developed an entire brand around it. (You can read it below). The brand features a logo with a mosaic M filled with several illustrations representing various parts of the city and its amenities. The icons will change over time to keep the brand fresh, and the color palette can be simple with only a few colors, or it can be vibrant with multiple colors.

Make no mistake, this is not the same old Muskegon, and now it’s time to tell others about it.

Work Sample Gallery
The Brand Story

We’re Muskegon — The Shoreline City.

Throughout our neighborhoods, along the waterfront, and into downtown, you can feel an undercurrent of energy – and a vibe that’s unapologetically Muskegon.

Things are different now. If your view of Muskegon is decades, years, or even months old, we’re sure it’s outdated— because we aren’t the same place today as we were yesterday. We have new and flourishing business districts and a growing population of people who call this place home.

Some things have stayed the same, like our sense of community pride and natural resources that invite new adventures every day.

There’s a vibrancy you can feel when you walk through our neighborhoods. We’ve made sacrifices, overcome challenges, revitalized our city, and turned the old into something new — We are resilient.

Whether you work here, live here, or explore here, you’ll see something that runs deeper. You’ll discover that in Muskegon, hard work is rewarded… That our people are diverse, inclusive, and real as they come. That relationships are valued, and a smile and a wave are contagious…

We won’t always agree, but that’s okay — We believe that diverse life experiences create balance.

Our story has come a long way, and the city is committed to making the next chapter our best one yet.

WHAT IS A BRAND STORY?
A Brand Story is a short, inspirational narrative that defines an organization, or in this case, an entire city. It’s used as a rally cry for internal teams, a statement that residents can be proud of, and a clear definition of what one can expect from the city.

We required an intensive engagement process that fit in perfectly with Kindred’s process and resulted in a beautiful brand and logo that the city’s diverse population can connect to. Kindred worked alongside us every step of the way, going above and beyond, offering guidance, being flexible, and helping us bring the community’s vision to life. Their creativity and analysis skills helped make thoughtful decisions, and honestly, they’re just a pleasure to be around.

Deborah SweetCity of Muskegon’s Community Engagement Manager

Ready to brand something?