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What’s in a name? W


hen Lutheran Social Ser- vices of the South, based in Austin, Texas, changed


its name to “Upbring” last spring, they joined the ranks of other long- standing Lutheran institutions around the country that have re- branded in recent years.


Why the name change? “We want


people to know who we serve in one word,” said Evan Molian, chief mis- sion officer for Upbring. Te new name comes from the


word “upbringing” and emphasizes the organization’s commitment to serve children, he said. Re-branding wasn’t done impul-


sively. A two-year planning process brought about Upbring’s new strat- egy and identity. “Organizations re-brand in order


to make sure they are meeting the needs of changing audiences,” said Sian Muir, an expert on marketing and director of management stud- ies at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. “Tey seek to serve new people as former audiences age or shiſt, and they want to be current. “Tere is a general trend to be


more inclusive, so organizations will move away from a specific identity, such as ‘Lutheran.’ Teir mission pretty clearly states who they are supporting or serving.” Ascentria Care


Alliance is the new name for


34 www.thelutheran.org


Why long-standing Lutheran institutions are re-branding By Ann Hafften


Lutheran Social Services of New England, based in Worcester, Mass. Ascentria means “rising together,” said Jodie Justofin, its vice president of strategic marketing and commu- nications. “Our faith-based legacy is reflected in this blend of ‘ascension’ and ‘trinity,’ ” she added. SpiriTrust Lutheran is the


new identity for a social ministry organization based in York, Pa., that focuses on services for elderly people. Begun in 1950, it was previ- ously known as Lutheran Social Ser- vices of South Central Pennsylvania. SpiriTrust Lutheran provides senior living, hospice, home care, memory care and other services. In these cases, the organizations


worked to honor their Lutheran heritage. Although an organization’s culture and goals aren’t necessar- ily changed in re-branding, the effort reflects serious planning and thought about an institution’s strategy. For SpiriTrust Lutheran, research


during a 16-month process showed that in New England “Lutheran” is relevant, even a strength. It’s associ- ated with compassionate care and not turning people away, said Crys- tal Hull, corporate director of com- munications and public relations.


Why they serve “Faith-based organizations always have to correct misunderstandings about who they are and who they serve. But it’s not about either of those; it’s about why we serve,” said Glenn Miller, an ELCA pastor and vice president for external rela- tions at SpiriTrust Lutheran. “Te Lutheran ethos that drives us is the call to serve the neighbor in what we do every day at every level.” In Texas, Upbring’s leadership


saw the need to focus services on breaking the cycle of child abuse


A narrow religious


identity can be a barrier for some corporations and foundations.


so they re-branded. Calling Texas “an epicenter of children’s issues,” Molian said “70 percent of child abuse is actually neglect.” Upbring seeks to reduce recurrence by addressing health, safety, education, vocation and life skills, he said. For Upbring, re-branding was also


part of a strategy to secure develop- ing partnerships in order to deepen services, such as a connection to Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, Austin. Tis was the case for Ascentria as well. Aſter re-branding the organization entered into a part- nership with the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, Worcester, to address the needs of clients in a holistic way, Justofin said.


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