Creating Destination Detroit; A look at the D Brand one year out, how's it faring?

Author:La Brecque, Eric
Position:The D Brand

So just what is this D Branding business, and why is it important to me?


More than just a harebrained scheme to attract more visitors to Detroit, the D Branding initiative is a lasting effort put forth by the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), and if done properly, will retain important young talent in our region and attract quality workers and visitors who demand interesting and relevant places to accept a job or spend their discretionary income. And that is something that local businesses can definitely capitalize on.


In the year+ since its official release by the CVB, a lot of local businesses are still struggling with how to apply the concepts of the brand to their own business. In the next few pages, we take a look at how businesses around the region can adopt it for their own benefit, even with little to no budget, and show you examples of how other businesses have already done so.

We also take a look at what the D Brand is exactly and hear a behind the scenes account of how it's taken root thus far.

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For the sake of shorthand, we've come to call the Detroit tourism brand the D Brand. Over time, we hope to hear this nickname on the lips of thousands of individuals in the greater Detroit area - because they're aware of the brand, and because they're putting it to use.


As we enter the summer of 2008, the D Brand has been live for about a year and a half: the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau gave it a big public sendoff at the Fox Theater in Downtown Detroit in January 2007. To be honest, the rah-rah atmosphere surrounding the rollout made us nervous. By that time, we'd looked at many other civic brand initiatives and as far as we could tell these splashy launches didn't accomplish much - except to contrast starkly with the brands' failure to deliver later on. We simply wanted to put the D Brand to work. No matter what the Bureau tried, the leisure tourist needle hadn't moved in six years. We wanted to make sure the D Brand would succeed where other efforts had failed.

In the months since the launch, results have been encouraging. The checky D Brand advertising campaign developed by Bloomfield Hills-based Berline Communications, the Bureau's advertising agency of record, seems to be hitting the mark with a specific audience of "early adopters" (i.e., influential young people ages 21-34) in key Midwestern cities. In...

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