On July 1 of 2019, Bluegrass.org, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky, changed its name to New Vista. This was bigger news than it may have seemed at first blush.
Since 1966, the organization has been providing mental health, substance use services and intellectual and developmental disability services in Central Kentucky. And it is a large operation.
With over 2,000 employees and operations in 20 Kentucky counties, New Vista provides a wide range of services to more than 25,000 Kentuckians and their families each year. The impetus for a rebranding needs to be strong in order to justify a wide ranging and profound shift in a corporate identity that is so important to so many.
The reasons had been building for some time. First, there was the legacy name.
Bethany Langdon, corporate director of Communications and Marketing at New Vista, explained “In this part of the world, Bluegrass is in so many different business names, it was hard to immediately peg what we did, for whom, and why it was important. We saw an opportunity to differentiate and reclaim the organization’s presence in the communities we serve both at the clinic and residential treatment locations as well as in the digital landscape.”
Langdon continued, “Our business has grown, as the environment has changed and evolved over the last decade. Not only did managed care and the Affordable Care Act bring changes to the way we operate, but our region is one of those most profoundly affected by the opioid crisis, and we needed to build a distinct identity and a stronger public profile for clients and their families seeking help.”
Planning and Research
Langdon knew that a change in corporate identity needed internal collaboration with several divisions in management, informed by research and executed with outside help. Two years before the July announcement a methodical process began. New Vista began a collaboration with Work + Play, a Lexington-based branding and design consultancy to develop the brand strategy and identity. Langdon and Ana Maldonado-Coomer, principal at Work + Play led the rebranding initiative under the vision of Paul Beatrice, CEO, Dana Royse, CFO and Mickey Sexton, corporate director of Human Resources and Administrative Services.
New Vista engaged administrators, clinicians and staff across every level of the organization. This collaboration provided invaluable insights that shaped the strategy, positioning and identity design for New Vista. The Board of Directors played an important role conveying the historical legacy of the organization.
By the nature of its mission, New Vista’s name needed to be welcoming, positive and reassuring. The look had to be distinctive. Langdon noted of the process, “we took the time to ensure every decision was thoughtful and practical in application. The team fully vetted naming options, nomenclature systems for the entire organization, and conducted extensive experiments in design and messaging to create dialogue with those we serve.”
After exploring more than five names and over 15 logo variations, the resulting identity evokes the approachable brand needed to connect within the communities New Vista serves. New Vista evokes the change their clients are a part of every day. New Vista is their people. New Vista is the mission. New Vista is a promise to the communities served to see the good ahead.
The logo itself is laden with meaning. The design depicts the rolling hills of a Kentucky landscape. Keeping the letters all lowercase denotes balance and stability. The gradient in the brand design represents positive change that staff and clients experience. The green represents the land, blue is the sky and the yellow/orange dot is the sun. The logo is a literal representation of a promising New Vista.
Introduction and Execution
There was a multi-pronged effort to launch and introduce the new brand, which involved multi-media presentations and outreach as well has hands on introduction and training for employees.
The rebrand launched with a 30-second brand essence film, called Sunrise. Designed for social sharing, the video sets the tone for New Vista’s mission and vision, achieving over one million impressions to date.
Additionally, six videos were produced featuring staff sharing their stories and passion that led them to a career with New Vista. The social videos accompany a series of digital ads, a comprehensive print campaign and traditional TV and radio.
Internally, there was a concerted effort at new brand promotion. There were over 15 lunch and learn sessions. Employees were encouraged to realize how living the brand–to see the good ahead in the lives of clients–leads to brand loyalty which in turn cultivates brand authority for New Vista in the communities they serve.
Such a comprehensive campaign has helped build awareness and improved the company’s competitive share of voice in the marketplace, particularly with current and prospective clients and their families who can change their lives with the comprehensive services New Vista provides. The New Vista brand has created a renewed sense of purpose and re-invigorated staff dedication to their mission.
Langdon is pleased with the payoff for a long hard process.
“The meaningful work that Work + Play put forth has helped clarify market confusion, and the positioning of “We See The Good Ahead” not only welcomes prospective clients in their time of need, but this hope-filled message lives up to what our people are doing every day as they lead with optimism and expertise. They feel that now more than ever.”
“Some organizations are afraid to make change, or those ready for needed change can become fearful of including too many voices. Our experience has proven business and nonprofits alike can guide a process over time that yields inclusive collaboration and insights to positively shape corporate culture and create powerful and positive change for the organization.” A new vista, indeed.