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Monday, 25 May 2020

Drawing a New Generation through Rebranding


In the 1990’s bestseller, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, two fictional mice and two mythical people are placed in a maze to acquire cheese. When the cheese dwindles, the mice adapt and build rich stockpiles of sustenance while the two people resist change and plunge into cheese poverty. 

Johnson’s book sold more than 26 million copies worldwide, as many found inspiration in the message of the business fable; in order to be successful, change must be anticipated, monitored and embraced. 

Change is a concept knocking on the doors of pregnancy help organizations today. Gone are the baby boomer and Generation X clients on which many centers were built, and in their place is a new generation of millennials.

According to “Nine Shift: Work, Life and Education in the 21st Century,” millennials (born 1980-2000) have distinctly different values, behaviors and ideals compared to their parents, due to the pervasive implications of technology and the internet in their development.

Pregnancy help organizations are feeling the reality of serving this new population. Some are adapting.

Tweet This: PHO's are feeling the reality of serving a new population. Some are adapting.

Struggling to attract clients who are considering abortion, while striving to open doors in the community, many organizations are adapting their branding, re-orienting the way they communicate their identity to more successfully accomplish their mission.

Melinda Clark, who serves as executive director of Selah, formerly known as Steamboat Springs Pregnancy Resource Center in Steamboat Springs, Colo., says her rebranding experience was more than a name change.

“Rebranding is about understanding who you are as an agency and a ministry, knowing what makes you unique, and being able to tell your story well,” Clark says.  “After knowing who you are, rebranding is the process that helps you consistently share that culture with the community so that whether it's our logo, our signs, our decor, our social media posts, or our ads, we are constantly saying the same thing about who we are and what we do.”

Pregnancy help organizations are realizing that rebranding is about firming internal identity, as well as listening to and responding based upon an outside constituency—especially a potential client facing an unexpected pregnancy. 

In Harrisonburg, Virginia, Executive Director Susan Null recently changed her organization’s name from “Harrisonburg Pregnancy Center” to AVA Care of Harrisonburg.

We knew that if we were going to try to be more relevant to the demographic we most needed to reach, then we needed to take the time to find out how they think and what they want,” Null said. “So we conducted five focus groups across three of the colleges. We then compiled an 80-page analysis of the groups’ answers and used that info to steer us in our decisions regarding a new brand.”

“It’s really powerful to sit and talk to the exact women you’re trying to reach, and hear their thoughts and opinions.”

While centers like AVA Care of Harrisonburg conduct rebranding with only in-house staff, Selah used an outside organization with marketing expertise for a faster conversion. 

Jeff Abel, owner of Rocky Mountain Media Group, which assists pregnancy centers in rebranding, says he encounters three initial objections to the process:  financial concerns, the time required, and fears of losing donors.   

“I hear that, ‘We’re a small organization and we can’t afford a rebrand,’” Abel said. “I usually respond that it’s all God’s, and if he wants this for you, He can provide.  Often, with the proper communication, donors are excited, engaged and willing to step up and specifically help fund a project like this.”

With such a tremendous amount of time and money required to make the proper transition, the major question remains: Are pregnancy help organizations seeing substantial results?

Reported in a Feb. 3 article by, a name change by a San Jose, Calif., center, RealOptions, has helped contribute to a 700 percent increase in babies saved per year over the past decade.

“Rebranding has been the most healthy and strategic decision for our organization,” Null said. “Never before have we had such a solid brand with consistency in our messaging, print materials, and internal documents. We have had extremely positive response from the community and our donor base.”

Tweet This: "Rebranding has been the most healthy and strategic decision for our organization."

Clark agrees.

“In the community, a name other than Pregnancy Resource Center has opened doors that seemed permanently closed,” Clark said. “Since our rebranding, I've been invited to teach in the middle school health class every quarter, present at dorm events at our community college, and we've received donations and sponsorships from local businesses.” 

“Clients love our new look. When they ask what Selah means and our staff says that it's an old word that means ‘just stop and think about it,’ clients inevitably say that it's the perfect name for us because we're such a safe place,” Clark said.

Has your organization changed its name recently? What were the results? Let us know in the comments!

Sommer Hansen

Sommer Hansen has been involved in pro-life work since 1996 and currently serves as President and CEO of ComfortCare Women’s Health, a non-profit medical clinic with three locations in Virginia that empowers women to make healthy life choices during unplanned pregnancy. Sommer holds a B.S. in Psychology from James Madison University and serves as secretary for the Association of Virginia Pregnancy Center Directors.  She and her husband, Randy, have three daughters.  

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