Detroit Thermal is a remarkable company. Founded in 1903 by Thomas Edison himself, this Detroit original has been providing steam heat to downtown Detroit via 43 miles of steam tunnels for more than a century. It’s essential utility for a city that treasures its local businesses, but Detroit Thermal was largely unrecognized. To add to that, over the last 20 years and three different private equity owners, Detroit Thermal’s brand had been tarnished by less-than-ideal customer service, a much-hated waste to energy plant, and persistent bad press.
The company approached Well to completely reconcept the consumer-facing brand. We hit the RESET button hard. We presented 4 brands that in themselves could be iconic. Each took styling cues from some of Detroit’s “golden eras” — the 20’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. This concept helped tie in the new slogan Well created, “Energy for Every Era,” which ties the history and future of the company to Detroit and to its customers.
Ultimately, Detroit Thermal’s executive team settled on this classic logo that evokes the iconic “steam stacks” at their Madison avenue plant, seen from all over downtown Detroit. Coupled with a progressive brand story, messaging and visual style, the updated Detroit Thermal brand is unusual for a utility, but is helping the company reset and reinvent itself in their market.