ILF Rebrand: Getting Through the Bad Names
RAFT Team, September 30, 2019
A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet… unless that name is "Brella".
Ok, maybe I am jumping too far ahead in the telling of this part of the story. Maybe I am just making sure not to bury the lead. You can decide.
The short version of this post is: the first naming presentation with Rethink didn’t go very well.
The creative process isn’t easy (in fact it is HARD). Rethink, the agency helping us through the rebrand process, was a brave agency for taking on the challenge of renaming Indrani’s Light Foundation. They were tasked with dreaming up names that weren’t quite right, names that didn’t fit, and names that kind of, well, stunk.
Getting through the bad names was all part of the steps we needed to take on the journey to the good names, and Rethink did an amazing job of being patient, managing our emotions, taking our critiques, and continuing to move forward.
A big thank you to Rethink for helping us through this process and discovering our new name.
Rethink broke the names up into themes, which we loved. The themes they identified were a great match for Indrani’s Light Foundation. So, let’s take a look at some of the names organized by theme (with a bit of commentary on each name):
Light and Positivity
From Rethink: Light as a theme is an excellent metaphor for the positivity and resilience required to be a domestic violence advocate. These names represent a guiding light for these people:
Everlight: Felt a bit too cultish, like maybe we would come to the training wearing robes.
Project Daylight: We didn’t feel like “Daylight” was very clear, but we did like the use of the word “Project.”
Project Lighthouse: we were worried this felt a bit religious, and we support advocates regardless of affiliation.
From Rethink: This theme is about restoring balance – convincing advocates to take a little bit back for themselves after all they’ve given to others.
Libri: From “Equilibrium.” This one made us think, and some of the team didn’t mind it, but it didn’t make our brand much clearer than “Indani’s Light”.
Project Balance: We liked the “Project,” but we don’t really feel like balance is something any of us can obtain. Harmony between work and life, maybe, but not balance.
From Rethink: This theme represents the wisdom of accepting help. It’s about dispersing the pressure in a way that makes advocates stronger, and in turn better able to help others.
Project Triangle: Triangles…triangulation…not the greatest shape in social work type situations.
Kolmio or Silta: Finnish words for triangle and bridge. We didn’t feel using Finnish words would feel inclusive to our target audience.
Olev: An alternate spelling for “olive.” As in “Olev the other reindeer.” Nope.
From Rethink: This theme represents the inner strength and pragmatic defences the program provides to domestic violence advocates.
Brella: From “umbrella,” this name resulted in the most amazing facial and verbal expression from Indrani. When anyone on the team makes a confused or disgusted face we now call it “Brella Face” (so we kept this name…sort of).
Elo: Malagasy for “umbrella”, also Electric Light Orchestra, so, no. Also it didn’t feel right to appropriate another language’s word to which we have no connection or history.
Shelter Shield: The name of a condom company…maybe. A new name for ILF…NO!
A lot of “NO!” names…so now what?
The team loved the different themes but the names were all just wrong. No one on the team could imagine introducing ourselves and saying that we worked for any of these new names. The team left the meeting feeling confused and unsure if renaming ILF was even a good idea.
Luckily, Rethink assured us these feelings were normal, bad names were part of the process, and their team, with the feedback, could head in new directions. We scheduled a second renaming meeting, and gave Rethink some time to get creative.
H.A.A.A? How About An Acronym?
The second meeting arrived and Rethink presented 10 more names, including the possibility of sticking with Indrani’s Light (and dropping the “Foundation”). However, there was no need to share 10 names, because after they had shared the very first name with the team, we were positive they had nailed it.
From Rethink’s presentation: “Renaming ILF is an opportunity to bring clarity to the organization’s purpose upfront. An acronym can help us clarify the lofty mission of ILF without adding too many words to the name. If you’re in the water, sometimes the water gets rough, and even the best swimmers among us need something to hold onto.”
And so ILF became: RAFT – Resilience for Advocates through Foundational Training
Advocates are dedicated to their jobs, they are passionate about their jobs, and they are good at their jobs. But all of this, like rough water, can fall apart when compassion fatigue and burnout take control. The training we provide at Indrani’s Light Foundation (RAFT) is something advocates can hold onto when things get rough, and pull themselves out of the rough water and back onto something more solid.
This name, we think, is clear, evokes emotions, is benefit driven, and matches the tone of how our team wants to be seen by the advocates we support.