Case Study: Transforming a Social Service Agency Brand


Winner of a Keystone Award from the Central PA Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America

“We were extremely fortunate to work with Jason Kirsch and his team at PRworks on our branding initiative. They were, quite simply, exceptional at counseling us with their expertise. With knowledge and wisdom, they guided us through a process of discovery necessary to uncover and express the unique personality of our organization. The ability to facilitate this type of process, while empowering the organization to retain ownership, requires a significant degree of sophistication. This is what sets PRworks apart from other agencies that simply ‘impart’ rather than ‘facilitate.’ Furthermore, PRworks’ knowledge of the public relations environment, and current trends and standards, was instrumental to assuring we developed our identity in a unique and distinguishable way that positions us for visibility and growth.

I highly recommend PRworks to any organization looking to capture their identity for today and tomorrow using an authentic organizationally-driven approach.”

– Rick Azzaro, Ph.D., LSW, Executive Director, Voce

The Situation

Family Design Resources (FDR), a nonprofit statewide social services organization based in Harrisburg, PA, had a 20-year history working with agencies and professionals who support children and families throughout Pennsylvania.

FDR provided programs, technical assistance and training to cultivate healthy, supported families. Specifically, the organization’s focus was on adoption and permanency, adolescent sexual health and bullying prevention.

In July 2018, FDR announced the promotion of its program development manager to executive director. The new executive director succeeded FDR’s co-founder, who had served as the organization’s executive director for 19 years.

In concert with this leadership change, FDR entered a process of self-reflection based on perceived challenges about its brand identity and strategic direction.

The Approach

To guide this process, FDR engaged PRworks in fall 2018 to conduct a brand audit. The goals of the audit were to:

  • Uncover and identify perceptions of FDR’s brand
  • Uncover and identify misperceptions of FDR’s brand
  • Uncover and identify brand strengths and weaknesses
  • Gather insights to inform a vision for the future of FDR’s brand

The audit methodology included a review of FDR’s strategic plan; results of a previously conducted stakeholder survey; a communication materials audit; stakeholder interviews; and an employee survey.

Based on the findings of the brand audit, FDR’s board and senior leadership determined to proceed with a brand transformation to reposition the organization for its future.

PRworks subsequently collaborated with FDR on the second phase of its brand journey – the development of a comprehensive brand strategy. This phase, which began in spring 2019 and concluded in spring 2020, encompassed brand counsel, employee brand focus groups, and collaboration with the organization to develop a range of core brand deliverables including:

  • Vision and mission statements
  • Name exploration and development
  • Brand positioning
  • Brand promise
  • Brand personality
  • Brand messaging
  • Elevator pitch
  • Logo design
  • Brand style guide

The brand strategy development phase led to the creation of Voce (pronounced vō-chāy, which means voice), a new brand to propel the organization into its future:

Voce brand strategy

Voce, which means voice, is a change agent. We use our voice, and empower others to use theirs, to create positive, lasting change in people’s lives. We use our voice because we believe every person should belong and be empowered to thrive. Our agency began by pioneering a model that is nationally recognized for expediting adoptions and supporting families. Now we provide consultation and training to agencies throughout the country in the areas of trauma and loss, adoption and permanency, diversity and inclusion, and individual and family well-being.

With the brand strategy and new brand identity established, PRworks was engaged for the third phase of the organization’s brand initiative – brand implementation. This implementation phase, which began in spring 2020 and concluded with a public brand launch in February 2021, was comprised of continued brand counsel, the creation of marketing and communications materials, and brand launch and communications counsel. Deliverables included:

  • Copywriting and content development
  • Marketing and communications materials such as:
    • Business identity package
    • Brand video
    • Program materials
    • Social media profile graphics
    • Email marketing template
    • PowerPoint template
    • Presentation folder
    • Exhibit display
  • Website content and design consultation
  • Brand launch consultation and communications

Results and Next Step

Since its brand launch, Voce has earned widespread praise from stakeholders. The organization also surveyed employees for feedback within days of the internal launch of its new brand.

  • 3 of 4 employees reported understanding why the organization rebranded
  • 90% of employees reported being excited about the future of the organization
  • 77% of employees reported associating Voce with the brand’s desired attributes including empowerment, passion, empathy, integrity, expertise, and change agent
  • 86% of employees reported associating Voce with its key brand attribute: empowerment
  • 70% of employees reported feeling empowered to be a brand ambassador just a few days after first being introduced to the Voce brand

Voce and PRworks plan to collaborate on further evaluation research in the future to track perceptions and maintain the brand to support the organization’s goals and strategy.

“PRworks’ four-phase approach equipped us to clarify, develop and implement a brand that represents a bold and exciting new era for our organization. Jason became an extension of our team, providing expert counsel and championing our efforts while delivering on all elements of our agreement. I couldn’t have asked for a better relationship. I would joke that where my brain left off, Jason’s picked up, ensuring we stayed true to the brand concepts and on track with our timeframes. I would recommend PRworks to any organization interested in retooling its identity.”

– Fawn Davies, Communications Director, Voce

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