What’s in a Name? Part III


For the final post in this series, we take a look at the steps Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley took to become AgeSpan. Did you miss the first two posts in this series? Read them here and here.

After making the initial decision to rebrand, ESMV-NS launched a Request for Proposals (RFP) process to procure the services of a brand consultant with experience working with nonprofit organizations, a knowledge of the geographic area, and proven expertise in helping established organizations rebrand while maintaining vital components of its trusted identity. ESMV-NS selected Cleveland Design, a Boston-based graphic design and marketing agency. In partnership with Cleveland Design, ESMV-NS began the process of creating a more flexible, adaptive and inclusive identity, appropriately capturing the work we did without losing our mission, values or culture.

The process started first with creating awareness and gathering input from agency staff and stakeholders, including a kickoff meeting, surveys, focus groups and interviews. Key audiences in this discovery process included staff, consumers, family caregivers, councils on aging and other community-based organizations, the State Unit on Aging, our provider network, health care partners and other key community collaborators. We were able to identify four key characteristics that defined our agency:

  1. Our mission had expanded. We were no longer focused just on elder services. Our agency had evolved to address healthy aging with younger populations. The agency advanced healthy aging across the lifespan.

  2. Our service area had expanded. The 2019 merger brought in five new communities, adding to the diversity of the service area. Many of the agency’s programs were statewide, expanding outside of the Merrimack Valley. The agency further sought to better serve diverse communities within the region by advancing health equity. Agency services spanned multiple diverse communities.
  3. We collaborate with a variety of partners. To best serve aging adults, the agency needed to continue to partner with CBOs, health systems and others. The agency creates connections spanning the community to address social determinants of health.

  4. We are innovative. Innovation is not an end in itself – it is driven by consumer needs and is evidence-based. The agency is forward thinking, implementing services our communities need today and tomorrow.

With these key characteristics in mind, balanced with the desire to address the evolution of the work while not fully losing our identity, AgeSpan was born. To stay connected to the history of ESMV-NS, AgeSpan retained a similar tagline:  Choices for life’s journey and a familiar color scheme.

To successfully launch the new brand, AgeSpan convened multiple “preview” sessions with key community partners, staff, and other stakeholders. This included identifying staff “brand ambassadors” to create energy around the new name, answer questions about how the rebranding impacts the work and collect feedback.

Where are we today? After officially launch our rebrand in December 2021, the feedback and response, from both internal and external stakeholders have been overwhelmingly positive. Stakeholders and consumers alike report that their experience with AgeSpan honors the history of ESMV-NS while being now increasingly welcoming and accessible to the broad constituencies engaged in healthy aging across the “agespan.” In sum, the work supporting older adults and others aging in the community continues uninterrupted and the new identity appropriately reflects the work, the mission and the future of the agency.

This blog post was written by AgeSpan staff.