We recently worked with a local charity which supports people with visual impairments, on their name change from HERIB to Sight Support Hull and East Yorkshire.
The main reasons behind Sight Support’s name change were that it was originally named (one hundred and fifty years ago) as Hull and East Riding Institute for the Blind, changing to HERIB around twenty years ago. This however, caused a disconnect between the name and the services provided to members and with over four hundred and fifty people referred to Hull Eye Clinic each month, the charity was concerned many people would be missing out on its valuable services.
Over the last year the leadership team worked with Jenko Marketing who conducted research on their behalf, talking to members and their families, supporters and key partners to find the best way forward.
Throughout the research programme, the common themes were that many people were fearful of the word ‘blind’ and did not consider themselves to be blind, as they have varying levels of sight. Also the word ‘institute’ was old fashioned and did not reflect the type of services available from the support centre.
Divine Clark PR was invited to help with traditional publicity for the name change. We worked with local media to spread the message far and wide across the region. ITV Calendar News attended the event and pre-recorded members playing tenpin bowling as part of the news feature. Also the Hull Daily Mail and The Journal interviewed Sandra Ackroyd, CEO of Sight Support. BBC Radio Humberside, KCFM and Beverley FM interviewed members of the charity and support staff. Plus a number of weekly/monthly regional publications ran the story. Now the charity needs to keep up the momentum and maximise media exposure at every opportunity.
The most important factors for any name change are repetition and reinforcement. With millions of messages targeting the public on a daily basis, a change like this needs to keep talking to break old habits, in the same way as when a wife changes her surname for marriage, old friends still use their maiden name… ’Megan Markle’ rolls off the tongue perfectly and will likely be her name for ever more!
A successful name change keeps the brand image and name at eye-level of its target audience. Obviously Snickers had a huge marketing budget, but when was the last time you slipped up and called them Marathon? They have been successful because of repetition and reinforcement through publicity and marketing.