In January of 2008, the Housing Authority of the City of Winston-Salem hired me to serve as a brand/design strategy consultant. The Authority was faced with negative publicity emanating from the issues with prior leadership, and it was struggling with a resulting brand image problem. My task was to rebrand the Authority and change its promise to that of a real estate development firm with as social conscience instead of a low cost housing provider
We started the process with the renaming of the organization to Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (with the acronym HAWS), and then re-stating its mission, vision, values and shared agreements. I worked with a group of 7-10 representative staff members and another one comprising of the executive leadership team. Through a series of exercises, we were able to identify the common shared goals as well as communication gaps – disparities in the perceptions of what should be important to the organization. These gaps were glaring in the light of the different approaches to organizational communication. Through the process of closing the communication gaps, we were able to build a single brand objective, and identity statement and organizational priorities for the new brand. I then presented creative concepts on a storyboard to the client, along with suggestions on the recommended direction for a new brand. We pulled out three components from the organizational mission: real estate development, community partnerships and property management. We used these three components as the basis of our design.
With the acceptance of the new ideas, we then worked with both the internal and external communities of stakeholders to launch the new direction. This process involved public relations plans, media events and interviews, an internal launch event, online communications and digital marketing, corporate identity and collateral design, annual report design and radio spots.