The art of rebranding

Cedar Lake updates tired brand with more than a new logo.

Chris-Stevenson-432691-220For the first time since its founding in 1970, Cedar Lake, a non-profit care provider for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities operating in Jefferson, Oldham and Henry counties, has completed a two-year  rebranding process. The goal was to clearly communicate that Cedar Lake is not just a pick-up service, but an interconnected comprehensive system of services that highly values the lives of the people they support.

Jim Evans , vice president of Marketing and Development for Cedar Lake said, “The goal of this new branding campaign is to increase community awareness of, education about, and partnership with Cedar Lake.”  The new branding project Cedar Lake’s $1 2.5 mi l l ion Circle of Friends Campaign, launched in January of 2013 and has already raised $5.5 million. We spoke with Chris Stevenson, president and CEO of Cedar Lake, to learn about the rebranding process.

Medical News: When did you realize that Cedar Lake should rebrand?

Chris Stevenson: Shortly after accepting the position at Cedar Lake in 2012 (42-years after its incorporation), senior management and I realized our mission and vision statements could be enhanced by increasing the focus from a strong business approach to a perspective more clearly conveying our daily work – offering care to individuals with disabilities.

MN: How have the vision and mission statements changed?

CS: We felt it critical to include words that convey our passion for the people we support. Words like compassionate care, abundant possibilities, meaningful interactions, mutual respect and unconditional love were included in our newly enhanced mission and vision statements.

Additionally, our core values statements include phrases like “we believe in the God-given worth of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” and “to maximize the unique abilities, safety, health, welfare and self-esteem of each person we serve.”

MN:Why is branding important?

CS: Branding is the personality of an organization and how others perceive the organization. Once the brand is successful, an emotional connection can be made through storytelling. With this in mind, we are designing and presenting a message to appeal to the hearts and minds of prospective donors, families and volunteers in hopes that they will want to support our mission. Together, marketing and branding express our organization’s vision and mission with clarity and passion.

MN: How did you start the process?

CS: Our journey to create a new logo began by interviewing participants in a marketing focus group. Feedback from the group concluded that since our current logo has straight lines, boxes, and a “bank-like” color scheme, our organization, at-first glance, appears conservative and does not accurately communicate Cedar Lake’s internal culture.

MN:What else has Cedar Lake done to rebrand?

CS: To show our vision and mission in action, we hired a professional photographer to capture the meaningful interactions we speak about in our vision statement.  These interactions feature our staff , families and volunteers in happy embraces with the people we support and are displayed in all of our locations in black and white photographs.  is internal branding of our enhanced image, communicated through words and pictures, has created great excitement within Cedar Lake.

Alongside our internal branding, we are in full swing with our external marketing — sharing the stories of Cedar Lake with the public through various mediums: broadcast, print, digital as well as social media.

MN:How did you change the logo?

CS: We worked diligently creating a new logo to capture the essence of our mission and vision. During our planning sessions, we paid special attention to crafting a logo that conveys stability and calm, coupled with passion and heart. Emphasis was placed on creating a logo that was fresh, clean and contemporary. We softened our look by removing the boxes and straight lines and picked two distinct colors that we feel represent Cedar Lake. Our new image pays homage to our rich past, in which our foundation was built, yet still portrays a fresh image that will serve us for many years to come.