Why Do You Want to Advertise?

September 27th, 2011 | 0 comments

What are you trying to achieve? How do you want people to respond? If you want new prospects, how do you plan to convert them to customers? How well do your facilities reflect your brand offering and make it compelling for customers to purchase?

These are the questions we always pose when asked to work with a new client. Now, you’d think as a firm that makes its money on marketing and branding, we’d gladly take any offer to work. But we always pause to understand the motivation first. One of the most crucial parts of brand architecture is understanding the circumstances before jumping into a creative solution. Anything less opens the door for generating cool creative, but not necessarily addressing the client’s root problem.

We were invited to pitch to be the agency of record for a new organization formed by the merger of Southwest Mental Health Center and Child Guidance Center of San Antonio. We were challenged with managing the merger between two organizations with stellar reputations; one was known for outpatient and the other for inpatient treatment.


First we laid the foundation for our plan by understanding what they were asking for. Identity was an obvious need. But then we started looking beyond what was in their RFP and examining deeper foundational challenges. It was then that we determined there was an even bigger unspoken challenge. How do you change the public’s perception of deeply rooted social stigmas about mental health and our most vulnerable

Many parents of troubled children and adolescents look at suspected mental issues with either denial or shame. This is further exacerbated by difficulty finding information that is understandable and that provides trusted direction. Parents need information that provides clarity, trust and hope. With this revelation, a name was born that is not only memorable, it suggests that answers are available and hope is near—Clarity Child Guidance Center.

Once the name was determined, we tackled the more pressing issue of how to break through stigmas. Thinking through these circumstances before coming up with creative was an integral part of not only landing the account, but also building a
strategic plan that comprehensively connected both external and internal
communication changes.

Our first objective was “making the promise.” By showing children in light surrounded by darkness, we’re showing the audience that the shame and confusion around mental health can be overcome and that the child will again be in the light. This was communicated through television, outdoor and collateral, as well as integrated into the organization’s website and online newsletters.

The next objective was “delivering the promise.” While the campuses were responsibly presented, they looked institutional and did little to reflect the hope that is critical to successful treatment. We looked at all elements of the environment: sights, sounds, even aromas and started creating “hope.”

Now, visitors to the campus are greeted by a 40’ tall silhouette of a girl holding a pinwheel that actually rotates in the wind. And the 10’ tall word on the building adjacent to her: Hope. Clean, clear way-finding graphics confidently guide guests to their destination. Entering the buildings, full wall murals of children and caregivers reflect the care and understanding they will encounter in treatment. Silhouettes with encouraging quotes by famous people who suffered with mental health issues further comfort patients’ families. In the inpatient areas, similar calming graphics and colors make their temporary home a place where healing can take place. The result was removing sources of discomfort for parents and children and replacing it with compassion and confidence.

The sustained results continue to be positive. Inquiries are up more than 30% and the hospital is now working at capacity during the traditionally busy months and census is up in the slower summer season. Patients and employees consistently comment on positive energy during their therapies as a result of the new look and feel. In the end, parents are feeling more comfortable with mental treatment for their children and the employees feel more comfortable in their environment, which results in better treatments. Most importantly, all of these dynamics are coming together to help provide more children with the mental health care they need.

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