How Ignite (formerly Teen Living Programs) worked with Prosper Strategies to reimagine their mission, vision and brand identity to accurately showcase their life-transforming work with youth.
After 43 years, Teen Living Programs (TLP) recognized they needed a new name and brand that more accurately reflected the organization’s work today. The nonprofit serves youth experiencing homelessness and unstable housing situations. While TLP started as a place where youth could find temporary housing, over the decades, they had evolved into much more. They had become a nationally recognized leader in the space and a place for youth to reimagine their futures.
TLP approached Prosper Strategies and our strategic partner, Substance Strategic Visual Communication, about updating their messaging and brand in order to better communicate their growing mission and appeal to a wider range of funders.
We kicked off our engagement with the formation of a project taskforce, which included TLP leadership, staff and board members. We worked with this committee through the rebranding and communications planning process.
Putting the Nonprofit Impact System™ to work, we helped TLP hone their reason for being and revamp their mission and vision. Then, we led them through a robust rebranding process, helping them select a new name for their organization and designing a new visual identity. Finally, we developed a brand rollout plan to reintroduce the newly named organization to their most important stakeholders, including youth.
During our research process, our goal was to uncover TLP’s greatest strengths, so they could be carried forward with the future brand, and also to identify opportunities to differentiate the nonprofit from others in their space in ways that would resonate with their stakeholders. We conducted an organization assessment, where we reviewed their strategic plan, website, marketing collateral and social media channels. We also conducted a media audit and studied a third party impact report. Then, we conducted an ecosystem assessment, where we looked at other organizations serving youth experiencing homelessness. We also identified and assessed aspirational organizations that TLP wanted to be more like. And finally, we conducted a stakeholder assessment, where we reviewed TLP’s research on youth experiencing homelessness, watched a documentary that profiled young people who went through their programs, and conducted interviews with key stakeholders.
The name, Teen Living Programs, or TLP, was limiting for an organization that supports youth in a wide array of areas, spanning prevention and outreach, residential programs, support services and financial education. And, while the organization was unique in that it was one of the few serving youth experiencing homelessness in their region, what really set TLP apart was its dedication to creating a lifelong community and a place their clients could always call home. Additionally, while people ranging from board members to funders to youth were really proud of their association with TLP, they didn’t feel like they could articulate the value of the organization well.
With these findings, we recommended focusing on messaging that would encourage TLP’s stakeholders to think about the potential that lives within every young person, regardless of their current circumstances.
With this in mind, we crafted TLP’s reason for being and we updated the organization’s mission and vision. We developed stakeholder profiles and wrote overarching key messages as well as key messages by audience that could be used across all of TLP’s marketing materials.
Then we moved into naming. We presented over 100 names under various thematic categories to get a sense of which naming themes TLP was most interested in exploring. We held several meetings with the project taskforce to continue narrowing down and discussing options. After a robust rebrand exploration process, the organization ultimately selected the name Ignite and the tagline Futures with Promise.
Once the new name was approved by the board, we moved on to developing a new visual identity for the nonprofit. We prepared several logos and visual identity systems, along with usage examples for the project taskforce to select from.
With a new name and visual identity, TLP was ready to introduce itself to the world as Ignite. During this phase of our work, we developed a brand rollout plan, which provided clear guidance for announcing the new brand to the organization’s stakeholders. For Ignite, this included their board, youth, funders, supporters and members of the media.
Engaging stakeholders throughout the process of a rebrand is critical to its success. In the case of TLP, we worked closely with the project taskforce, but we also wanted input from youth and frontline staff. We asked them to share the words that came to mind when they thought about their experiences with TLP, and we used these words to help shape thematic paths as part of our naming process.
After the new brand was introduced, we helped Ignite put the processes in place to manage their new brand. This included a brand rollout checklist to ensure all relevant materials were updated and the development of brand guidelines to ensure everyone had the information they needed to apply the new brand moving forward. We also updated Ignite’s website and collateral to reflect the new name and identity.
The new messaging and branding for Ignite were unveiled at the organization’s annual gala in 2019, and it received glowing responses. The organization also raised $500,000 that evening.
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