Township name change marketing study OK’d

FLINT TWP. — What’s next for the proposed township name change? A marketing study approved 5-2 by the township board Monday night is the next step in the process that began last September with the formation of an advisory committee.

For seven months, that Suggestion Committee met and discussed options before making a recommendation to the township board in late March to pursue a name change, aiming to give the township its own identify, improve marketing efforts and inspire community spirit.

On Monday, Township Supervisor Karyn Miller brought three proposals to the township board. One was a marketing study, which was approved.

The second was a phone survey to be conducted by Epic-MRA of Lansing, which specializes in municipal survey research and polling. The third option was to drop the idea of a name change altogether.

The marketing study is projected to cost $6500 while the phone survey would cost a lot more – ranging from about $6,750 for a ten-minute businesses only survey to $20,000 for a 15-minute residents’ survey – depending on sample size. After a discussion, the board agreed to move ahead with the marketing study and hold off on the telephone survey. The marketing survey is to be conducted by Eric Grant Bowe, the creator of the highly touted Pure Michigan campaign and soon-to-beauthor of a “groundbreaking” book on shoppers’ motivation and behavior, according to a provided biography. Bowe is the Director of Strategic Integration at McCann-Detroit, where he designs consumer-centric strategies for clients including Pure Michigan, ALDI’s General Motors, Bob Evans and more. Bowe has a bachelor’s in advertising from Michigan State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Oakland University.

Bowe will be charged with devising an online survey to test proposed names for the township based on marketing potential and economic development potential, said Jerry Preston, chairman of the Suggestion Committee.

That committee gleaned 10 potential names from a list of about 103 that will be provided to Bowe for his research. Those names include but are not limited to Carman Hills, Garland, Dyewood Heights, Genesee Hills, West Haven, Westwood Hills, Oak Hills, Torrey Heights, Bristol Heights and Rolling Oak.

The survey will test names based on sense of community, believability and marketing appeal.

The sample size would be of about 300 residents and 100 businesses owners in a survey to be conducted over a twoweek period. Results should be available by the end of June. The township board is taking the survey route due to legal questions raised about putting the name-change question to a voter referendum.

Miller said she consulted the township attorney who recommended doing both surveys because of the importance of a decision to change the township name.

Trustees Frank Kasle and Tom Klee said they favored moving forward with the name change proposal, especially given the amount of time the volunteer committee spent coming up with its recommendation.

“Let’s Pure Township them,’’ Klee said of surveying residents and businesses. Treasurer Lisa Anderson asked that the survey includes polling respondents about the option of no name change.

Trustee Barb Vert questioned spending so much money on survey when ultimately the namechange resolution must be approved by the Genesee County Board of Commissioners, who could say no.

Miller said that township attorney Peter Goodstein would be talking to county officials to gauge the legalities. She also said the money for the survey could be taken from funds already budgeted for economic development this year. Anderson suggested a postcard survey, as an alternative way to gauge public reaction to the name change.

Miller said she preferred that the survey be done by an objective entity outside of government. She said Bowe would be asked to present the final survey tool to the board before proceeding with the actual survey.

Ultimately, Miller, Kasle, Klee, Trustee Carol Pfaff-Dahl and Clerk Kathy Funk voted in favor of the marketing survey while Anderson and Vert voted no.

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