A lot will be riding on next month’s website survey of Porter residents as
to their preference for a town logo, and now the Town Council’s been asked
to decide how Porter should be marketed to tourists and development
The Town Council discussed both matters Tuesday with Indiana Dunes Tourism
executive director Lorelei Weimer and community-based Porter Branding
Leadership Team members Jackie Ruge Perkins and Nick Tilden.
Some town officials questioned the Tourism/BLT’s marketing “brand” for
Porter identifying it as a family-friendly community.
Council member Bill Cantrell said if only 25 Porter residents were polled
about the brand among 450 people interviewed county-wide, “Twenty-five
people in a survey doesn’t really cut it for me.” He suggested seeking
broader local input.
Council president Greg Stinson said although 90 percent of the town’s
restaurants are closed to children because alcohol is served, Porter still
can promote family-focused activities in town to pursue an aspiration if not
a reality now.
Jackson Township resident and town building commissioner Michael Barry said
from the outside looking in, the beach is only a small portion of Porter
with all the bars in town it’s confusing to portray Porter as child and
Asked Ruge Perkins, “Would you rather have an adult theme for Porter? I
think it’s a no-brainer. Nobody would want that.”
Weimer said when Porter County Tourism previously hired Destination
Development International of Seattle to help identify brands for the county
and its eight participating cities and towns, DDI clearly felt only one
community at that time --- Porter --- had a family component.
Porter’s downtown Hawthorne Park was part of that reason, Weimer continued,
and adding amenities there like a splash pool can reinforce it. She asked
the council, which took office Jan. 1, to approve the family-friendly brand.
Council member Jeanine Virtue earlier said she didn’t think anyone was
opposed to it and Virtue agreed to become a BLT member after Stinson
suggested closer cooperation and communication so the council can be better
informed and have faster feedback.
While the town welcomes the BLT’s voluntary expertise and resources to
benefit Porter, he noted, it should be clear that the BLT isn’t a Town
Council committee although the group’s information and advice is welcome.
Ruge Perkins said the BLT’s interest always has been to further and better
Porter, and to bring people and funding together as long as everyone is on
the same page. Tilden told the council, “We need you. We can’t do anything
without working with you.”
Porter long has
used the orange and blue setting sun logo against the lakeshore horizon but
the BLT more recently proposed using, and the previous Town Council
endorsed, a beach scene with an inviting Adirondak chair dubbing Porter the
Front Porch to the Dunes.
theme is similar to marketing efforts used on banners in Michigan’s Harbor
said the sunset logo doesn’t set Porter apart from any town on the lake, and
Tilden said a lot of work was put into developing a new logo for Porter.
Nevertheless, “To the extent the town doesn’t like the logo is obviously
something we have to deal with,” he added, but the BLT needs to know if the
brand itself is acceptable.
Weimer said if
Splash Down Dunes is purchased and re-opened as are the current plans,
that’s a huge lift for Porter’s family brand.
said the Adirondak logo could be modified for various Porter town
departments like removing the chair entirely for the Police Department yet
remaining cohesive if not identical. Stinson said Valparaiso University has
alternate logos with the same basic font and color but each one is very
At one point
Weimer told council members that community leaders who volunteer to serve on
a BLT “need a thick skin because any time you launch a branding effort,
arrows will be shot.”