Branding isn’t just a phenomenon in corporate
America. It’s crossed over to ELCA-affiliated social service providers
that seek to develop clear, consistent communication about their
identity and mission.
More than a label on a cereal box, a brand is “a trustmark—something
people recognize and trust,” said Kristi Bangert, executive director of
ELCA Communication Services and an expert on branding.
Serr, president/CEO of Graceworks Lutheran Services, and marketing
manager Pam Blumensheid look over logos that were considered and
rejected, as well as the new logo (left) selected for their
ELCA-affiliated social services institution.|
and other proponents say a brand helps people clearly associate a name,
identity, logo, promise and positive connection with an organization’s
mission and programs. It also differentiates them from competitors.
Branding strategies look for ways to improve overall communication
efforts and can involve subtle or significant changes to names or logos.
10 percent of ELCA social service providers changed their names in the
last decade, said Ruth Reko, ELCA director for social ministry
organizations. Some were due to mergers, while others were tweaks to
vague or narrowly defined names, she said.
Yet for ELCA social
service providers, branding is still relatively new, said Jill
Schumann, president/CEO of Lutheran Services in America, an alliance of
the ELCA and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and their related
social ministry organizations.
Branding pioneers include Ecumen
(formerly Board of Social Ministry), a Minnesota provider of housing
and services for older adults, and Lutheran Social Services of
MidAmerica, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, which this year became
Graceworks Lutheran Services.
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