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.