Forums collect public input on ‘branding’Written by Kristen Criswell | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo Brand Initiative hosted community forums on Jan. 25, Jan. 26, Jan. 27 and Jan. 28 to gather feedback from area residents to help “brand” the region.
The public and private partnership aimed at “branding” Toledo hosted the summits to engage local residents to share what is good and bad about the region. Through the summits the group hopes to define how the region sees itself and in turn develop a campaign to market Toledo.
“So far folks have really participated and have had great opinions. We’re not trying to do this in a vacuum. I think the feedback so far has been fabulous. Our big fear was no one would be willing to talk, and our second big fear was that comments would be negative but it’s been exactly the opposite of that,” said Keith Burwell, president of Toledo Community Foundation and committee member of the Toledo Brand Initiative.
Applied Storytelling, a brand development firm based in Berkeley, Calif., facilitated the public forums.
“The caliber of discussion and the insight people are bringing is really substantial,” said Eric La Brecque, a principal at Applied Storytelling. “It is enormously valuable. Even to the point of not only ideas, which people are discussing and taking different views on, but even specific phrases resonate.”
The forums allowed residents to give their feedback about the region through discussions and interactive surveys.
“Toledo is our town. This is our home. Toledo is it,” said Don Monroe, a Toledo resident who attended the community forum at the library. “I said everything about the city is great and it is. There are just so many people that piss and moan there is nothing to do, but I disagree.”
Fritz Hany, a judge, drove from Port Clinton to participate.
“I think this is so positive,” he said. “There’s so much we all have in common and we have to come together because we shouldn’t be competing against each other… We need to set aside our differences because we’re competing globally.”
Regionalism and uniting different areas was a common theme.
“This was a great opportunity for input into what’s going on in our region. I think regionalism is the answer to a lot of our problems here as far as what is happening with the economies in our own communities. I’m looking forward to seeing us all pulling together and making Northwest Ohio and the Toledo area be all it can be,” said Sue McHugh, a Sylvania resident who attended a forum at Olander Park.
Two more public forums will take place, Feb. 2 at Maumee City Hall Chamber, 400 Conant St., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Feb. 3 at Perrysburg City Council, 201 W. Indiana Ave., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Toledo Brand Initiative has surveys at www.toledoregionstory.com.