How Prosper helped Family Counseling Center rebrand to become Arrowleaf and transform their messaging to better communicate their mission, scope of services and impact in the communities they serve.
Family Counseling Center has supported individuals and families in Southern Illinois for more than 45 years, but they had outgrown their name and brand, and it was no longer showcasing the breadth and depth of their services. Despite identifying as a counseling center, the organization does far more than provide families with mental health services. They offer more than 25 programs that support the well-being of individuals of all ages across Southern Illinois, regardless of their life situation.
When Family Counseling Center came to Prosper Strategies, they were looking to redefine their brand by creating a new name and tagline that better aligned with their broadened scope of work, strength-based messaging to help them communicate their impact and a plan to roll all of their new brand assets out to their stakeholders.
We began our work with Family Counseling Center as we do most engagements: we developed a Project Taskforce. This is a group of the organization’s internal and external stakeholders and people the organization serves. In Family Counseling Center’s case, this committee included leadership, staff, and community partners they work with every day, each of whom would bring their own diverse perspectives and lived experience to our work and provide valuable input and feedback. We then worked with this committee throughout the rebrand process.
Our research began with a discovery kickoff meeting with the Family Counseling Center team, followed by three key assessments to determine where the organization’s brand stood in the present, and how it would need to evolve in the future. These assessments are part of the research process for every brand and messaging strategy we develop. They include:
An organization assessment where we explore how the brand is presented and perceived by stakeholders today. We reviewed key organizational collateral (website, marketing materials, strategic plans, etc.), and conducted third-party research to inform our understanding of the brand’s current status in the community.
An ecosystem assessment where we aim to understand how the organization exists today relative to others in its ecosystem: collaborators, comparators, competitors for funding etc. For Family Counseling Center, we conducted a messaging audit of five other human services organizations that provided similar services to the community, and explored how they were messaging their services to better understand how Family Counseling Center could differentiate themselves.
A stakeholder assessment where we aim to better understand the stakeholders our clients hope to reach, so we can propose a strategy that will be effective for them and sensitive to their lived experience and cultural context. For Family Counseling Center, we interviewed internal stakeholders like staff and leadership and external stakeholders like partner schools, healthcare providers, transportation agencies and more.
We also shared an internal stakeholder questionnaire with the Family Counseling Center team to help us better understand and prioritize their perspectives regarding marketing.
Our research led us to uncover a few key insights that guided the rest of the rebranding process. These insights included:
- Family Counseling Center was not clearly communicating their strengths or impact on the broader community.
- They had the opportunity to differentiate themselves as a leader in the community because of the way they collaborate with partners and contribute to economic prosperity.
- Stakeholders weren’t clear about the services Family Counseling Center offered or who was able to use those services.
With our key insights in mind, we started by developing Family Counseling Center’s Reason for Being, a statement that captures why an organization is uniquely positioned to make a specific impact no other organization can make.
Then, we held a series of workshops with both internal stakeholders, like staff and leadership, and external stakeholders, like people they serve and partner with, to refine Family Counseling Center’s mission and vision statements to reflect the goals and impact of the organization.
With these elements in place, we developed their strength-based messaging platform to help them overcome the many misconceptions stakeholders have about human services organizations. In addition to this, we created program messaging to clearly articulate Family Counseling Center’s three areas of focus and each service they offer in a way that demonstrated their benefits and intended outcomes.
Next, we developed stakeholder profiles and key messages by stakeholder to ensure that Family Counseling Center was communicating effectively with each member of the community they served or partnered with.
With all of the foundational elements in place, we moved onto naming. For Family Counseling Center, we started by developing a list of names, organized by thematic category, and we facilitated discussions with members of their staff and leadership. Based on the input from these sessions, we selected a set of top names we recommended for Family Counseling Center, conducted research to determine name availability and any conflicts, as well as web domain possibilities. Finally, we developed taglines for the final recommendations.
The organization selected the name Arrowleaf and the tagline, “Growth. Community. Transformation.” The new name, Arrowleaf, holds a lot of meaning in their community. The arrowleaf plant is indigenous to Southern Illinois and the Shawnee National Forest region and it thrives in adverse conditions of sand and gravel. It is both beautiful and resilient, just like the people they work with who overcome adversity and find ways to fulfill their potential despite the challenges they face. The descriptive tagline was an important accompaniment to the more evocative, less descriptive name. The tagline describes the impact and focus of the organization, showcasing both their work and their support of the community.
With a new name and tagline, we moved on to developing a new visual identity for the organization. For Arrowleaf, we prepared a few logo options and visual identity systems, along with usage examples. Because Arrowleaf works with so many different stakeholders and provides expansive programs and services, the logo we created is a tangram that can morph to showcase their work in different ways.
As a final piece of the new brand identity, we created brand guidelines, so everyone within the organization knew how to apply their new brand as they brought it life across their materials. This included color palette and typography recommendations, as well as different versions of the logo tangram to use in different pieces of their work.
Family Counseling Center was now ready to become Arrowleaf.
During the strategy portion of our work with Arrowleaf, we developed a Brand Rollout Plan that announced the new brand to their stakeholder, something we do for every rebrand client. For Family Counseling Center, they needed to communicate their rebrand to their staff, clients, partners and the communities in the 7 counties they serve in Southern Illinois.
After setting clear goals and discussing the budget for a rollout, we began developing the tactical elements like email, social, direct mail, Google Ads, and advertising that would bring their new brand to life. It was important that they not only announce the new brand, but also help stakeholders adopt the new name and recognize the organization as Arrowleaf.
When the plan was complete, we developed a final budget as well as a rebrand calendar, so the team could easily tackle each item on the list during the transition.
Aligning staff and other stakeholders around a new brand is critical. In fact, this is where many rebrands can go astray. With Arrowleaf, we developed a Project Taskforce made up of both internal stakeholders, like staff and leadership, and external stakeholders, like school, healthcare and transportation partners. To engage each individual, we held one-on-one interviews during our research phase to understand the different perspectives of the organization to inform our messaging. We also engaged the Project Taskforce in developing the mission and vision statements.
As the last element of the rebrand, we developed rebrand key performance indicators (KPIs) to help Family Counseling Center evaluate the impact of the rebrand over the next few years. Given their goals, this focused on community awareness, partner retention and overall organizational growth.
Arrowleaf announced its new brand on September 9th, 2020 and the response has been very positive. Everyone on the Arrowleaf team is excited about the potential this brings to the organization to grow and serve more people in their communities.
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