Youve Decided to Rebrand. Now What?
By Rachel Kestner
Committing to a rebranding initiative takes stamina and a thick skin. The word patience comes to mind. It also takes time; you should plan to devote up to a year to this critical project and figure that it will consume from 15% 25% of a staffers time to manage.
A successful rebranding initiative, though, can result in not only a reinvigorated image for your organization, but can also serve as a rallying cry for the entire organization from receptionists to the CEO.
Since 1995, Element Careour organizations new namehas been providing complete health care to eligible people through PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly). During this period, we delivered services under the name of Elder Service Plan of the North Shore, which has also been referred to as ESPNS (not to be confused with confused with ESPN, the sports network).
By early this year, we realized that our name and our look were dated and needed a makeover. We needed something that was more supportive of our evolution as an organization and of our geographic growth.
After committing to a name change, we knew that a rebranding effort was necessary if we were going to grow and thrive in an ever-changing healthcare environment. We recognized that more than a name change and refreshed look, we needed to develop a differentiated identity in the minds of our stakeholders.
We understood that this level of effort meant working with rebranding professionals. In our case, we partnered with a branding agency that not only had relevant experience, but also one that we felt would mesh with our organization. We found that chemistry with Whats-It, Inc., a boutique branding and advertising agency based in Woburn.
All other factors being equal, enjoying great chemistry with your branding partner isnt a luxury its a requirement. You will want to be fully honest with them throughout the process. They wont take your suggestions or criticisms personally. They are professionals, after all, and whether it be a new name, new logo, or both, they want to get it right as much as you do.
When embarking on a rebranding effort, it helps to conduct the following brand audits, working with your agency:
The name Element Care, one of dozens we considered, became the cornerstone of our rebranding effort. Our CEO, Robert Wakefield, said it best: Since enabling people to stay in their element is our goal, Element Care seemed like a natural for our new name. Our participants like to say, ‘Im happy when Im in my element.
The Element Care rebranding campaign involved a number of tactics. In addition to some internal branding activities, including T-shirts and other items for staff and members, the organization has a new websitewww.elementcare.organd new marketing materials. Externally, the launch of the new name included a celebration with 400 of Element Cares closest friends, the creation of our first video, and a media relations and ad campaign.
When looking rebrand your nonprofit, consider these other points.
Rachel Kestner is director of marketing at Element Care, which launched its new identity in September 2014. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org