1. Know why you want to change your name, image and logo. What is the new image you want to portray? Youth? Movement? Freedom? Are there any negative perceptions that you want to  overcome? How do you dispel the perceptions that your CIL is a caregiver  or residential program? Take time to thoroughly explore your reasons so that you can know if you are successful.
  2. Take time to be curious, to image new possibilities. Beth Comstock, on her blog “How I Unlearn”, said this: “Sometimes, setting aside your emotions and direct impressions is a crucial skill. When we have a tight deadline, we can’t indulge every stray thought. But selectively listening to stray thoughts can be productive. If you find yourself dreading a project or consistently annoyed by it, it’s worth taking ten or fifteen minutes to think back to the moments when you felt that way and why. It might help you see the outlines of a problem that’s just below the surface. The same goes for sudden bursts of curiosity. At first blush, curiosity can actually look like distraction. But if something about your project is causing you and your team to ask a series of questions or go off on tangents, take a moment and ask yourselves why. Is there a potential opportunity lurking behind this curiosity, an assumption that could turn your work on its head? When curiosity crops up, don’t always ignore it. It might point out where your assumptions are holding you back.”
  3. As a non-profit you have a public that is interested in what you do. In an article on rebranding, in Non-Profit Quarterly, Carlo Cuesto said “In order to tell our own story, we need to listen to and embrace the stories of those we wish to reach. A story is a gift, not a donor-acquisition strategy. Stories bind us together by allowing us to glimpse the other. And when we glimpse the other, we seek to understand it in all its nuanced glory. It overtakes and ripples across our consciousness, forcing us to reconcile what we are experiencing with what we think we already know.” If your center is effective, your consumers have stories that will connect with what you do in ways that mere descriptions cannot.
  4. Engage your whole community in the discussion. We are community controlled entities, and our consumers should be involved in the exploration of a your center’s role and identity. When you step into your new “skin” it should be a good fit for your best moments.
  5. Make sure the image you want to portray is what you project. What is the story about disability that you want to tell to the community? Some organizations focus on ability — so you see the new brand of Ability 360 in Phoenix (formerly called Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL). “Ability360 puts the focus on the word ‘ability’ and not ‘disability’,” said Ability360 President and CEO Phil Pangrazio. “The all-encompassing 360-concept demonstrates more inclusiveness of people with all types of disabilities and the new name helps clear up confusion that has existed for many years about who we are and what we do.”The new logo, designed by Phoenix-based graphic design firm P.S. Studios depicts the word “Ability” in gray, sans-serif capital letters and “360” in light blue with the “0” designed as an arrow pointing upward. “The new logo with the upward-pointing arrow, is more modern than our previous logo, promotes positive and forward-moving energy in a very simple design that, most importantly, replaces the previous logo that conveyed a stereotypical image of disability with a wheelchair at its core,” Pangrazio said. “We’re thrilled to be moving forward under a new, streamlined and highly effective name and brand.”
  6. Don’t get caught between your past and your future. Make a plan and roll out your new brand with fun and fanfare. At that point all the old signage, logos, brochures and business cards should be gone and the new ones in their place. Don’t drag your transformation out over time. Don’t allow drawers of old stuff filed away because someone likes it. Other than a copy or two for your archives, the old will inform but cannot speak for the new image/brand. You will use the power of “new” to connect even more people to your center and your work.
  7. You have some “unlearning” to do as part of this change. If you and your stakeholders — board, staff, consumers — hold on to the old name or other old thinking, how do you expect the community at large to perceive you differently.

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Rebranding – Transforming your Image

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