Samana is an organisation with over 25,000 volunteers committing themselves to provide chronically ill and dependent persons and their caregivers with the necessary strength to build a quality life. Thanks to the enthusiasm and energy of so many people, they manage to make a real difference. And they do so every day. Ziekenzorg CM, as they were previously called, started looking for a new name, a name which carries a positive connotation, a name that conveys solidarity and puts the chronically ill, the caregivers, volunteers and the association’s own professional staff on the same level. Out of more than 1,500 submissions, the word "together" – “samen” in Dutch – emerged as the most important core value by far. That word also provides the basis for this new name. Samana could indeed be construed as a contraction of the Dutch word “samen” and “mana”, where mana means “power”. So the new name would actually mean: Strong Together! Genscom constructed a platform for the local groups (cores) allowing them to produce their own core newspaper, which would not only contain neighbourhood testimonials and the local programme, but would also provide a stage for local staff to make their own contributions.
Loyal to the message conveyed by its new name, the national secretariat also wanted to publish a newspaper in conjunction WITH the local cores. Genscom developed an all-in proposal for Samana. These are the communication objectives we formulated:
1163 cores in Flanders and Brussels should enable Samana to quickly build a positive image and awareness, using her new name. This is only possible if the cores help to disseminate the name as well. Genscom proposed to make a newspaper which would incorporate every aspect of the new name and corporate identity into the publication. In terms of contents, the publication uses a three-pronged approach: 1. Local cores enter their annual programmes, advertise their operation and provide useful contact addresses 2. The superstructure provides at least one editorial page, explaining the new name: storytelling. 3. The superstructure provides additional promotional materials, in this case a sticker to help disseminate the name further. The superstructure motivates the local cores to tackle their external communication and proposes incentives to achieve this: the price for the publication is kept low and the cores are given free stickers if they publish a newspaper.
For some people, the new name probably also signals a departure from the old organisation. It is, however, far more important to motivate the (old and new) people for the new story. The best chance for success is when the story you are trying to tell, is told and shared by as many people as possible. Consequently, local input should receive the attention it deserves. Let the volunteers fill in their own part of the publication. Gently put them on their way with some templates or prime examples, yet allow them the space to present their core in all its aspects. Also provide some space to introduce the new name. Where does the name come from? Why take on a new name? What does it mean and stand for? Where can you find more information? ... It is important that the superstructure establishes a direct line to its members, and that you can get your story across in a consistent manner. These pages are made up first, becoming a fixed part of the newspaper and allowing the campaign’s core message to be distributed everywhere.
Announcing the new name is thé perfect opportunity to help the cores with their future communication with their members and third parties. Once they have mastered the art of publishing, they will be able to communicate their programmes to the members via this channel every year. We will elaborate this ultimate marketing objective in 2017.
However great our confidence in the (qualities of the) volunteers, it wouldn’t hurt if the superstructure had access to each publication in order to pass on possible remarks. Correcting a typo, adjusting the position of a picture… a fresh pair of eyes can do wonders sometimes. Genscom has incorporated such a monitoring mechanism via an automated flow. For every publication, a volunteer requests a “ready for press” from a person in charge at Samana. This also allows for a joint decision on the print-run. This process should not impact the speed of delivery. Genscom is committed to finishing and delivering each order to the cores within five working days. This way, they get to see the results of their efforts soon after and can quickly start distributing the newspapers.
The campaign has proved a resounding success. Activity on the Samana platform is at an unprecedented high. In a short time one third of the cores registered on the site, and were producing their own publication in next to no time. From September 2017 onwards, their newspapers land on the doormats of more than 300,000 people. This way, the new name will become a household name very quickly, with the additional benefit of allowing Samana to present its operations to the outside world!