Brenda Schreiber
Brenda Schreiber

When you have a strong brand that has served you well for years, why would you consider changing or evolving it? That is precisely the time to step back and look at defining the next stage of the brand.

As part of our strategic planning process, Mather set out to ensure that our brand continued to serve us well, with changing times and changing consumers. The key to that was strengthening the brand’s value proposition.

For Mather, communicating a meaningful brand story is important in establishing clear differentiation from competitors while introducing customers to a distinctly unique and sought-after brand experience. Our goal was to build a strong platform to share our story and connect with both employees and the audiences we serve (which total 180,000 people, directly and indirectly, each year). And we wanted to emphasize the uniqueness of our history and story as we approach the 80th anniversary of the founding of our organization.

With enthusiasm, we launched “brandovation,” a merging of the words “brand” and “innovation,” as a way to move through our branding process and to have a little fun along the way. (Plus, we love made-up words!)

Our brandovation process included:

  • Talking with key stakeholders about strategic planning goals, including plans for growth in the coming years and other important insights (this included our CEO and president, chief financial officer, senior vice presidents and board members);
  • Considering keeping or changing our organization name (and coming up with different names to consider);
  • Reviewing our mission statement, vision, values and operating philosophy;
  • Exploring the 12 archetypes’ characteristics, values, attitudes and behaviors, and selecting the archetype most relevant for us (the archetypes were developed by psychologist Carl Jung);
  • Revisiting our brand essence (brand tone and personality);
  • Developing taglines that translated to our mission and crafted a brand story in a meaningful way for all our audiences; and
  • Designing different logo looks that incorporated all of the above.

We followed several key principles related to brand essence, including telling a distinct and captivating story of the why and how the brand fits uniquely into audience lives; establishing an emotional connection to engage customers on a deeper level; and acknowledging that if people become attached to a brand story, they tell others about it and invest themselves with that brand for a long time.

Where we landed

Evolving from Mather LifeWays to Mather provided an opportunity to refresh the brand with a new look while retaining equity built into the name. We designed a distinct and uniquely ownable logo mark based on the name of our organization’s founder. The contemporary yet authentic feel not only pays tribute to our rich history but has a human touch that visually connects with people on a more personal / emotional level.

The color orange has had strong brand recognition for us since 2004, and keeping it was one of our easiest decisions to make.

What’s in a tagline

A good tagline should be aspirational, uniquely you and something you can rally around with employees.

For us, “Be Nextraordinary” embodies who we are and what we stand for. It is about striving to exceed expectations and creating meaningful moments that are irreplaceable, irresistible and uniquely Mather. It is about turning ordinary moments into extraordinary moments. And capturing indescribable moments.

Mather is known for purposeful and unique language, so creating a word came naturally. So for others exploring taglines, we recommend going back to what is unique to your organization and maximizing that story.

Lessons we learned:

  1. Stick to the basics – Focus on your “why” (think Simon Sinek), what makes you unique, your personality and brand voice, and ladder up to that.
  2. Establish guardrails – What are your non-negotiables, and do you want an evolution or a revolution?
  3. Strive for goosebumps – Explore your ideas beyond your comfort zone, and push your status quo. 
  4. Boost brand ambassadors (aka employees) – Internal customers need to believe in and feel the brand story. Create brand-unveiling celebrations using videos that showcase employees living the brand, pass out branded memorabilia, and reinforce the mission, vision and values.
  5. Rebranding is stressful and rewarding – Have fun along the way. Celebrate wins. Find out your team’s “favorite things” so you can surprise and delight them.  

So why would you consider changing your brand? Even the most established organizations should step back and examine their “why,” where they want to go and how relevant they are to current and future customers. Don’t be afraid to consider a brand evolution or revolution. The journey is worth it.

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