Michigan is the birthplace to an impressive collection of brands and products, some of which are known world-wide and others that are exclusive to the state. The Great Lakes State has introduced the world to everything from state-of-the-art appliances, one-of-a-kind pizza, savory junk food, and – obviously – automobiles. There is a good chance you bought a Michigan-made product from your last trip to the grocery store, or even drove a Michigan-made product on your last trip to the grocery store.
Here is a list of ten iconic Michigan-made brands:
3. Bettermade Potato Chips
4. Ford Motor Co.
6. Faygo Beverages, Inc.
7. Domino's Pizza
9. Meijer Inc.
10. Biggby Coffee
The Kellogg’s brand represents some of America’s most beloved breakfast treats such as Kellogg’s Corn Flakes®, Fruit Loops™, Pop-Tarts®, and Kellogg’s Eggo® Waffles. It has dominated television with their memorable commercials for more than fifty years. Their products are sold in supermarkets all over the world, but Battle Creek, Michigan – also known as “Cereal City” – has been home to the Kellogg’s Company since 1906.
The Whirlpool Corporation was founded in St. Joseph, Michigan in 1911 by Louis and Emory Upton. More than a hundred years later, the brand manufactures some of the most innovative home appliances across a global market. Despite being a household name across several continents, the company’s headquarters is still located along Michigan’s scenic west coast.
Better Made Potato Chips Inc.
No Fourth of July picnic, family barbecue, or everyday lunch for that matter, is complete without a bag of Better Made Potato Chips. The legendary Detroit brand was developed in 1934, and has since added popcorn, pretzels, and tortilla chips to their flavor portfolio. It's no wonder Detroit is #1 in the world for potato chip consumption! While the Better Made Brand is exclusive to Michigan, Toledo, Ohio, and central Chicago, their products are available online for anyone to purchase.
Ford Motor Co.
While General Motors and Chrysler are very well-known automotive brands, Ford Motor Co. is the most “iconic” of the “Big Three” because it is the brand that started it all. The company was founded in 1903 by Henry Ford, who made a name for himself – and the brand – with his introduction of the Model T automobile and use of the mass production assembly line. Today, Ford Motor Co. is one of the world’s most powerful brands and continues to sell millions of cars across a global market.
This exclusive Michigan brand is known for their Hot Fudge Cream Puffs and Milk Chocolate Bumpy Cake – and if you have yet to experience either of these treats, we urge you to do so immediately. Sanders has been satisfying Michigan’s sweet tooth since 1875, and although the company has closed its Highland Park headquarters, products are still available in Southeast Michigan grocery stores, various retail locations, and online.
Faygo Beverages, Inc.
Is there anything more Michigan than Faygo Pop? If you are a Michigan native, chances are you have tried one of the Faygo brand’s more than fifty flavors of soda including Rock & Rye, Moon Mist, or Vanilla Crème Soda. The brand was developed in Detroit in 1907, and is still considered a cult-favorite amongst Michigan “pop” drinkers more than a hundred years later.
Domino’s Pizza, Inc.
One of America’s favorite pizza delivery brands, Domino’s Pizza, originated in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1960. What started as a small pizza store near Eastern Michigan University, grew into a pizza empire with more than 69,000 corporate and franchised stores in the United States. The Domino’s world headquarters is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan – just a few miles from the original store location. In the last fifty-four years, the brand has expanded its menu with pasta, bread bowls, oven-baked sandwiches, and even desserts.
Vernor’s Ginger Ale
Along with Better Made, Sanders, and Faygo, Vernor’s Ginger Ale is one of Detroit’s most unique and beloved brands. The brand is named after James Vernon, a Detroit pharmacist who concocted the beverage in the early 1860’s. It is the oldest surviving ginger-ale brand in the United States. Today, Vernor’s is part of the Texas-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, but it will always be a Michigan soda at heart.
The Grand Rapids-based Meijer was first founded by Hendrik Meijer when he opened the first Meijer's Grocery in 1934. Hendrik and his son, Fred later revolutionized the super-market concept in 1960 when they decided to open a store that would combine grocery shopping and department store shopping - a one stop shop. It is considered to be the first supercenter store nationwide. The Meijer brand is made of over 240 stores (half of which are located in Michigan) that stretch across six states including Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Wisconsin.
The Biggby Coffee brand was built right here in East Lansing, Michigan in 1995 (originally called Beaners). As the city is dominated by caffeine-loving Michigan State University students, it’s no wonder founders Bob Fish and Mary Roszel found overwhelming success here. The brand has since expanded with nearly two hundred locations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, South Carolina, and even Texas. Fun Fact: Our former InVerve creative director, Fran Russell, designed Biggby's original logo, interior, and marketing material!
Bonus Brand: Pure Michigan
The most important brand in Michigan, is the Michigan brand itself! Having a successful brand does not always require a physical product. Sometimes it's about representing a state of mind. In the Pure Michigan campaign's case, it's about representing an actual state. The Pure Michigan campaign was launched in 2006 to market the state of Michigan as a travel and tourist destination. The scenic footage of Michigan's shorelines and narration of actor/comedian Tim Allen – all set to the classic film score from the 1999 film The Cider House Rules – has ran overwhelmingly successful television and radio ads for the last eight years. According to their website, the Pure Michigan campaign attracted 2.4 million visitors from the Great Lakes region and 1.6 million visitors from distance markets nationwide in 2013. The economic impact of these trips for Michigan businesses was a record $1.2 billion. Michigan has built quite the brand name for itself!
There are still many more brands that Michigan has to offer the world. The best thing about them? No matter where life takes you, there is a good chance a little part of Michigan will be right there with you.
If you're a small business owner in Michigan, what does your brand say about you and your business? Click here to get a free brand identity review, we can help you understand what aspects of your brand are helping you, and which need some help.