Some businesses in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood of Detroit are getting some branding help through a new program funded by the Knight Foundation.

Officially announced Tuesday at Detroit Startup Week, “Rebrand Detroit” is a business brand accelerator put together by BrandCamp University founder Hajj Flemings that will be helping a cohort of businesses – Always Brewing Detroit, Cutz Lounge, and Pages Bookshop – with their digital strategy.

Why digital strategy? It’s to help bring more customers in the door and raise the profile of the neighborhood. Businesses that aren’t online and don’t have presences on Google Maps and the like simply aren’t found by prospective shoppers. Their hope is that the program becomes a “catalyst for innovation districts.”

Also, each business will have a specific unique destination quality identified and then advanced through digital marketing through the program.

To Flemings, brand matters.

“When Barack Obama came to town, he went to midtown and showed off his Shinola watch … when Hillary came to town, she visited a neighborhood place, Sweet Potato Sensations … and when Martha Stewart came, how many of you have heard of Floyd? She visited Floyd in Corktown,” said Flemings as part of the announcement presentation at Detroit Startup Week.

The program will include six-week “cohorts” of three businesses each. Originally, they said they were going to try to do 10 at a time, and have 12-week sessions, but found that the business owners had so much going on that it wasn’t going to be feasible. There are also additional partnership resources being poured into the program, include local partnerships, but exact specifics weren’t available.

Another component is called “I Brand Detroit” and will include the stories of individuals in the city, some of which “you may have heard as well as untold stories, including the under-represented.

Rebrand Detroit was made possible thanks to a $164,810 grant awarded by the Knight Foundation to the Birmingham-based entrepreneur who also runs Brand Camp University.

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