Rebranding With Grace
Lutheran Social Services of Mid-America had a problem: Its name confused people. The Ohio-based organization works with people of all faiths, not just Lutherans, offering services from credit counseling to senior-living facilities. The “mid-America” was unclear, too. What to do?
“Many people didn’t know about our organization,” says Pam Blumensheid, director of marketing for Lutheran Social Services of Mid-America. “We were providing good work, but people didn’t know about it. We needed to build identity.”
To help it create a new brand, the organization hired BrandEquity of Newton, Mass.
“The old company name was too long and became an acronym that didn’t capture the essence of the organization,” BrandEquity Creative Director Steve Smith says. “We recommended a shorter, more memorable name, combined with a unique symbol. It had to be a picture that appealed to a broad range of services.”
The rebranding effort faced a major challenge: finding a visual that captured the breadth of services the organization offers, which include senior housing and healthcare, housing and services for persons with mental handicaps, adoption services, credit and debt counseling, life-skills training, and emergency assistance.
BrandEquity presented about 20 name options and asked the decision makers to discuss the ones that resonated.
“It’s human nature to find things you don’t like,” Smith says. “We encourage people to build a case for what is working. Sometimes, good names don’t pop off the table. You need to live with them and see how they resonate in the long run. Winner names may not have as much pizzazz, but they are more timeless.”
After living with the names for almost a month, the organization arrived at the brand: Graceworks Lutheran Services. It hoped the new name would have broader appeal and project that Graceworks serves people of all religious affiliations.