Usually when a company undergoes rebranding, its goal is to change the perception of the customer regarding the product or service. It also helps with making the company more focused on the customer's needs. The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans has gone about the process of rebranding the correct way. It has launched a new brand developed with the Autism community, going through an all-embracing process ensuring accessibility standards for individuals wanting connection to resources, support, and community.
That aspect of support is vital in any company and community. One hundred fifty individuals in the Autism community had a hand in the brand development for over a year. Those who participated played an incredible role in shaping the new brand from the start of research to the final stages of delivery of the appearance, feel, tone, and accessibility standards.
"We got involved in the brand process because our three sons all have Autism, and our local affiliate, the Autism Society of Central Virginia, has been an incredible resource for our family," Kate and Gary Fletcher of Richmond, Virginia, said.
Extensive research went into the rebranding process and, with the help of the Portland, Oregon-based Watson Creative, there was a series of interviews conducted, focus groups, and advisory councils—all evolved into a better understanding of the profound state, diversity, and complexity of needs in the Autism community.
"After hearing from so many people, we were struck by the enormity of this task - creating a brand that serves a huge, diverse audience," Matt Waston, CEO and executive creative director of Watson Creative, said. "We needed to thread the needle to empower and support people across the spectrum with something grounded, actionable and true."
Inclusivity is the core of the brand. It was contrived to add access to resources and information and to support the Autism community. To prevent the hindrance of visual, auditory, or other sensories, the Watson team looked over colors, fonts, and shapes using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to further help those partaking in the Autism Society and accessing resources. Careful consideration of each design choice was taken along the entire process, which involved individuals, families, and professionals.
"In our conversations with members of the Autism community, the one thing that kept repeating was a sense of disconnection—disconnected to opportunities, to basic needs, it was universal," Mr. Watson said. "So, connection was the universal response to these disconnected experiences."
Rebranding can be a satisfying experience not just for the company but also for those looking into it. When you look at the color system of the new brand, you'll have this calm feeling, and it's quite stimulating. The "threads" are seen as tying into the company's story of connection. There will be realistic photography of those in the Autism community as well, giving an accurate representation of the brand. The Autism community is unique and consists of many different individuals. The brand's new logo sheds light on that aspect by weaving colors and threads together to give that visual.
"For us, it's important that the brand creates visibility for the wide spectrum of individuals with Autism. There are self-advocates living fully independent lives, and then there are families like ours, where our children will need significant support throughout their lives. We want to see more connections being made between these groups," the Fletchers said.
It's important to point out that the Autism Society's new brand fully supports the organization and the 75 affiliates nationwide. Connections and empowerment go hand in hand in the Autism community, and with the resources provided, no one will be short of receiving the help they need. It doesn't matter if you're an advocate for Autism or a parent of a newly diagnosed child looking for information on the matter—the new brand has your back emotionally, practically, and intellectually.
"No matter how you engage with the Autism Society, we want you to feel welcome, included and connected to the resources, support and community you are looking for," Autism Society of America's President and CEO Christopher Banks said. "That's why I am so deeply inspired by our new tagline - The Connection is You™. This is a call to action for every one of us in the Autism community to create connections intentionally. When you come to the Autism Society looking for information, you are the connection. When you create a local support group for fathers of Autistic children, you are the connection. When you are an Autistic self-advocate showing up to share your story for policy changes, you are the connection."