The Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD) has been offering support programs and services for people living with disabilities since 1950. Originally called the Society for Crippled Children, the organization rebranded in 1985, reflecting a then-contemporary image for persons with disabilities and their families. But 35 years later, that then-contemporary image felt dated. As the organization worked to develop a new strategic plan, talk shifted away from the term ‘disabilities’ and towards the term ‘removing barriers.’
Understanding the Challenge
Finding the Concept
SMD existed for an inclusive and accessible society and worked to eliminate barriers to full and equal participation; SMD saw what was possible, fought for possible and made possible happen.
What Happened Next?
Manitoba Possible makes inclusion possible by focusing on removing barriers.>
Marketing Tips for In-House and Agency Teams
Take guidance from the organization’s mission and vision. The mission and vision are at the heart of every organization—it is what guides beliefs and drives everyone to achieve goals. Both are excellent tools when going through the rebranding process, but only if the work has been put into updating them first. If an organization hasn’t yet done the necessary strategic work, start there. Otherwise, you’ll be developing a new name that best suits an organization’s vision of the past, not of the future.
Make it future proof. The name you choose needs to be relevant here and now, and in the decades to come. All successful companies have names that can stand the test of time. If a name feels trendy or of-the-moment, it will likely need to be changed within the next few years. In this particular project, we knew we wanted to avoid the word “access” or “accessible”. While these are positive words, they are very popular right now. Language evolves. In a few years’ time, we will probably be using new terminology to explain this concept of accessibility, and the word “access” might feel dated.
Create a brand personality that complements the name. A name is just words unless there’s a meaning behind it. Build a strong identity and personality to tell a powerful and compelling brand story. During a rename process, it can be hard for decision-makers to get excited about a few words on the page. Expressing their organization’s unique personality through accompanying language and visuals will breathe life into the name so stakeholders can connect to it.
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