Monday, February 23, 2015

Hayward is hoping to market its way to prosperity with rebranding

Hayward's new marketing campaign:
Simple, green and straightforward
HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL | When Frank Holland, Hayward’s community relations officer, pored over the city’s host of marketing materials, he found it lacked a cohesive look and message. “Visually, there is an extraordinary level of fragmentation,” said Holland.

Over the years, Hayward has described itself as the “Heart of the Bay.” The slogan is grounded in geography and, of course, demeanor, but with a city still struggling to break out from the doldrums of the recent long recession, a new message is needed.

A rebranding was prescribed as part of its Economic Development Strategic Plan, approved by the Hayward City Council in 2013. “I hear a lot about telling our story,” Holland told the City Council last week. “How we have a great story to tell.”

Starting in November of last year, Hayward officials, business owners and residents participated in a pair of workshops to hash out a new vision of the city for itself and outsiders. They settled on portraying Hayward as an area of unexpected opportunity for residents, current and future, and for business. The latter emphasizing Hayward’s relatively low-cost rents for potential businesses to set up shop, said Holland. Additionally, Hayward’s new marketing plan will highlight the city as an area of opportunity for artisans. Holland labeled the idea, “We make real things.”

A stylized logo  of Hayward's border. Its new
marketing campaigns hopes to portray Hayward
a place of unexpected opportunity.
Holland eschewed the call by some in Hayward to market the city as "college town" since it boasts of Cal State East Bay, Chabot College and numerous trade schools. Unlike other cities like Chico, Calif., Hayward’s identity is not predicated on a university existing within its border, said Holland. “With Hayward, it’s there, but doesn’t define what Hayward is.”

Hayward City Manager Fran David said the current municipal logo and rosette will not be phased out. However, a new suite of marketing logos and colors palettes will be added. They include a simple “H” colored with a green gradient along with a stylized, multi-colored map of Hayward. The colors on the map, however, have no correlation to any neighborhoods or districts, but a series of arrows, said Holland.

The City Council expressed great support for the marketing campaign last week. Councilmember Sara Lamnin gushed, “Mostly, I want to get out of your way and say do it.”

Funding the campaign with more than the $103,000 budgeted by the City Council last year will likely be an issue as city officials begin hashing out its next fiscal budget this spring.

Councilmember Greg Jones suggested local businesses have access to co-branding with the campaign. David agreed the simple and straightforward campaign allows flexibility for business owners to co-opt their message, but with some restrictions, said David. “We want some control on who uses it, but we don’t want to be too constrictive.”

Hayward’s city finances are still lackluster and one of its largest employers, bus manufacturer Gillig, skipped town for Livermore this month. In addition, over 300 city employees are still on the job without a contract, but like its also struggling school district, a change in public perception may help place it on the fast track.

Over the past year, the Hayward Unified School District’s “Made in Hayward” campaign has gained great support in the community. The city appears inspired by their efforts. For instance, Holland, was also behind the raft of publicity this month that followed Hayward’s use of quirky road signs near Cal State East Bay.


  1. What a waste of time and money! How is this going to fill the empty storefronts in downtown ?

  2. Hayward, "Home of The Imposition." That's a lot of money for a City who is always crying poor, oh wait increasing city fees & taxes will make it up. Tax payers, business owners, residents & City Workers brace yourselves for another pocket check.

  3. Holland is yet another well paid Pied Piper who'll have Council following him off of a financial cliff that we will end up paying for. Hayward says it is broke and going to be bankrupt in 5 years. Why not spend a butt load of money on a P.R. campaign? Councilmember Marquez said that Councl should "go on a retreat" to discuss the new campaign. I think Council should stay at The Islander Motel to reflect on Hayward's other fine attributes. Paint that picture on a new canvas.

  4. Were any ACTUAL, successful marketing and branding professionals involved in this project? I can deduce by looking at these completely uninspired, unrepresentative images that the answer to my question is NO.

    Can somebody from the city please explain to me the ridiculous decision to not showcase that we have several institutions of higher education here? That is completely ludicrous because it is a point of pride for the city.

    Please do not go forward with these images. They suck. I cannot say it any other way. I am NOT one to sugar coat or blow smoke. :-) We can do SOOOO much better!!

  5. Brainchild Creative is the public relations firm that Fran David must have selected. Or it is the firm that the city council pretended to choose because Fran said so. So far $103,000.00 was put aside by council vote in 2013. This year 1.5 million dollars has been allocated for the new Economic Development Program. Frank Holland is a city employee. As far as I can determine, his brain did not come up with this incredibly expensive p.r. campaign. All of this information can be readily found on the City of Hayward website. Because Hayward is painfully transparent. All the council members raved about how "ground breaking" & "earth shattering" that big green H and raggedy map is. Throw a cool mil to buy a fake brand image, but first figure out what the heck you are peddling to the people. The P.R. people had some focus group workshops & decided that Hayward can't use "education city" because isn't a college town that people can associate as being a college town. Not to mention that CSUEB ditched Hayward from its title. Also Hayward schools aren't the best thing for them to brag about.

  6. Murals & painted utility boxes do not make Hayward an "artist colony." Hayward is known for crime & its criminals. Hayward is the "last frontier" because people & businesses want to get out of "Oakland South."

  7. By MW:

    Related to the idea of "damning with faint praise," I think Hayward has a fairly good downtown farmers' market. However other than that, I cannot think of even one good thing to say about Hayward.

    But agues for people who have insomnia but don't want to take sleeping pills, they could always move to Hayward since Hayward is so extremely boring and lacking it would put almost anyone to sleep.

  8. Hayward is a small town with a stupid "loop" running through downtown. Impeach the Mayor & Council. Get some new people with fresh ideas. & common sense. Challenge them to think for themselves, not raise taxes to generate revenue and not to take out loans to build unecessarily expensive, fancy buildings our city can't afford.. Fire the City Manager because she's always scaring City Council to vote however she wants them to.