Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rebranding Update

Rebranding...The Votes are in

There is a book recently published titled: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. The book, written by James Surowiecki, posits that the knowledge, perspective and experience of many can under certain circumstances contribute to better thinking than can the work of a few.

The rebranding process may well prove to be an example of this belief in work.

First, let me thank the many of you who have to date offered your advice to this process. Your suggestions were offered with sincerity and varying levels of passion.

Ultimately, 29 of 55 boards responded to my survey request (it's always the same ones that don't respond). This is what can be concluded:

- There is widespread concern over the name "Cornerstone." This concern includes:
  • Competition with a college and national evangelical ministry
  • Abandonment of our Masonic heritage
  • Lack of uniqueness in the name
Additionally, usage of "tutoring" over "center" is a concern in Pennsylvania where efforts are underway to be included in a state funding program that does not support tutoring centers.

- The name 32nd Degree Masonic Learning Centers is very unwieldy. While several LC boards have stated a preference to keep this name, a number of those don't use the full name in their public communication.

- The issue about keeping the bear logo is contentious. The discussion can be summed up by the conversation I had at a LC board meeting a couple weeks ago. The board members who were Masons strongly supported the bear logo and could not understand the suggestion that it does not reflect the age range of our users nor that older boys might find it embarrassing. They were quite surprised when the board member whose teenage son graduated the program explained that as much as the boy regarded the program he "would not leave his house" wearing the bear.

So the logo dilemma remains one of internal, largely Masonic esteem for the bear and utility of the logo when directed at external audiences.

As a result of this entirely healthy discussion, your collective intelligence has moved the rebranding process - we will NOT use "Cornerstone" in our name. Furthermore, unless circumstances in Pennsylvania change categorically against our efforts to qualify for their state funding program, we will no longer consider "Tutoring" in our name.

Now we have 4 new choices based on the recommendations forwarded to us over the past 2 weeks. Please let us know your thoughts:

a. 32nd Degree Masonic Learning Centers for Children
b. Scottish Rite Dyslexia Centers
c. Scottish Rite Centers for Children with Dyslexia
d. Compass Centers for Children with Dyslexia

I have asked each Board Chair to respond, but please feel free to comment (let us know your LC)

Further more, we recommend the development of a new logo for public consumption, but would continue to use the bear as a symbol of Masonic support of the Learning Centers.

What do you think?
a. I think that makes sense
b. I disagree. Here's why:

As we continue to profess through this blog, your input makes our charity smarter and stronger. On behalf of us all, thanks for your participation.


Gina Cooke said...

Gina Cooke, Peoria LC Director

I don't feel strongly invested in the name discussion. I think that whatever happens at the corporate level with the name, and whatever happens at the local level with the name, the community will continue to call us the Peoria Learning Center. I am, as are all center directors, way too busy to engage too deeply with this conversation. But I appreciate that you keep the lines of communication open with us.

Second, I absolutely agree that the logo needs to be reworked. My 6-year-old son would be hard pressed to wear a t-shirt with a teddy bear, let alone boys who are 10 or 12 or 14, like most of our kids. I personally don't get great satisfaction from wearing teddy bears or displaying them -- the Swarovski ones are nice, but not for every day. I don't mind the logo, but I think that it can kind of infantilize the serious clinical work that we do.

When I was pregnant and had an infant, I worked hard to find diaper bags and other accesories that were neutral and not babyish. Just because I had a baby didn't mean I needed to dress like one. And we're not even serving babies -- a logo with a book, or letters, or something that places the emphasis on written language and children would be ideal.

Question: When the logo changes, what am I supposed to do with all of my brochures, business cards, letterhead and other collateral that has the teddy bear logo on it? And how am I supposed to pay for the new logo collateral to replace it?

Brenda K. Wise said...

I would like to see some sort of name change so that the center name fits on the "Pay to.." line of a check.
I think the Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center is simple and indicates strongly what we do. We get so many calls for general tutoring--homework, math, etc. The inclusion of the word dyslexia might speak more clearly of our mission. Using the term Scottish Rite will please the membership, some of whom have expressed a concern that they are proud of their membership and would be upset to see the association with Scottish Rite Masonry dropped.

Here in Reading, the response to the bear logo has always been positive. We also emphasize the color purple (from the bear's ribbon) in all our events. Our center has only one bear in the waiting room. No one seems to find it offensive. The rest of the center's "decor" is not age specific.

The bear is more prominently featured on letterhead, business cards and posters. Many of our members have expressed an opinion that the use of the bear in promotional material conveys to the public an immediate recognition of a cause for the benefit of young people. Personally, I vote to keep the bear.

In addition, the Cornerstone logo struck me as promoting the myth that dyslexia affects only boys.

Henry Lawrence said...

Of the four choices, I would support Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center. Iwould like to see something added, perhaps as a tag-line, about serving school-age students.
I support changing the logo from the Teddy Bear; I do not think it is age-appropriate.

Bangor Center said...

I agree with those who like the Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center. Since we opened with the Scottish Rite name, people in our area still associate us with that name and it reflects positively on the Masons who support us. The name is easy to remember and fit on signs and letter heads.

As to the teddy logo, even our 'big kids' seem to like the teddy. After our fire, we were innundated with gifts of teddies, having lost several very large ones. Therefore, we have teddies all over the place. Rather than seeming off-putting, our kids seem to see the teddies as reflecting a non-threatening place. The rest of our decor is rather neutral, so we do not look like a facility for young children. One of our graduates, now a college student and a Masonic candidate, proudly wears his teddy pin. Of course, this is not a requirement, and kids surely are not required, nor encouraged, to wear any type of teddy logo.

Anyway, we in Bangor like the teddy. I plan to ask my teenagers what they think to make sure I am reading them correctly, though in the past many have played with them, setting them up around the room in various poses (including 'smoking' as pencil) for everyone's entertainment.

Brian Pettice said...

Of the 4 name choices, I prefer c. Scottish Rite Centers for Children with Dyslexia, though I think a better choice would be Scottish Rite Learning Centers for Children with Dyslexia.

I never understood the Teddy Bear logo and don't have any loyalty to it. I agree a logo that expresses something about our mission and the historic emphasis Masonry has placed on education is needed.

William Hochstettler said...

I think we should learn from the Shrine such that most people know of the hospitals and Burns Institute as Shriner's Hospital's. The offical name is Shriner's Hospitals for Children. All easily understood words by everyone except perhaps the word Shriner.

We need that same simple set of words. I would jettison 32, Scottish Rite etc. which only has real meaning to Masons and just use the word Masons. The other key words are Dyslexia and children. Lastly we need to convey the service provided.

Since school has legal issues and center is vague, a noun or verb comparable to hospital or tutoring is needed.

So boiled down it could be Masons Educating Dyslexic Children.

As to the logo, the bear is age specific, so we need something as powerful as the Shriner carrying the child with the crutch left behind. Unfortunately dyslexia being internal just doesn't have the public recognition that walking with a crutch has. But some talented Graphic Designer should be able to combine these necessary elements into a good logo.

Barbara McAuliffe said...

I feel it is important to have the words "Centers for Children with Dyslexia" in the name as it defines who the centers are for and eliminates the calls from parents just looking for tutoring of any nature. I am partial to using Masonic at the beginning of the name as it is recognized and respected in my area and credits those responsible for the very existence of our centers. Barbara McAuliffe Director, Northfield, NJ

Kathleen said...

Scottish Rite Leaning Center is used successfully in the Southern Jurisdiction. Check out the websites:
Scottish Rite Learning Center in San Antonio - www.srlearningcenter.org
Scottish Rite Learning Center in Austin - www.scottishritelearningcenter
Scottish Rite Learning Center of West Texas - www.srlcwt.org

I like a simple name indicating succinctly what we do.
Scottish Rite Dyslexia Center of (city name) - tag line of ages served
(City name) Scottish Rite Center for Children with Dyslexia

I am not well versed in domain checks, but my understanding is the term dyslexia closer to the beginning helps in searches.
Kathleen Carlsen

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