Cornerstone Affiliates—the parent company of provider and management companies be.group, American Baptist Homes of the West (ABHOW), Beacon Communities, Inc. and Seniority, Inc.—needed a change.
For one thing, the organization no longer wanted to present itself to the world as a set of disparate, unrelated companies, President and CEO John Cochrane told Senior Housing News. Instead, once and for all, the organization wanted to present a “unified identity” that signified all of its subsidiaries were “dedicated to one common purpose.”
For these reasons, the Pleasanton, California-based non-profit will officially rebrand as “HumanGood,” effective June 1. The announcement was made during the organization’s annual meeting in Santa Clara, California, on Friday.
Beginning June 1, the be.group, ABHOW, Beacon Communities and Seniority names will be retired. The organization’s individual senior housing communities will keep their current names, but they’ll likely be followed by “a HumanGood community,” or an identifying phrase along those lines.
Cornerstone’s board of directors approved the name change “enthusiastically and unanimously,” Cochrane said. The weight and responsibility of the new name was not lost on board members, however.
“The only concern that we had, and the only concern that our board had, is that it’s a big brand name that demands passion and excellence,” Cochrane said. “It’s is not a weak brand, it stands apart—are we really committed to living up to that? We decided that we were.”
‘Forced conversation starter’
Arriving at and ultimately settling on “HumanGood” wasn’t a simple task. The organization originally told its branding agency that it wanted a name that both speaks to its long history as a not-for-profit and speaks to its future as a leader and an innovator.
HumanGood, Cochrane said, accomplishes this nicely.
“It really does stand apart as a not-for-profit,” he said. “A for-profit couldn’t have that name.”
The organization also wanted a brand that stood out as nontraditional, as opposed to a name that blended in with the crowd. The issue, Cochrane explained, was that being nontraditional is logistically difficult.
“I actually thought we were going to end up with some made-up word,” he said. “Every word in the dictionary is already owned by somebody today.”
HumanGood is actually so nontraditional that it could wind up benefiting the senior housing industry at large, the company believes.
“It’s almost a forced conversation starter,” Cochrane said of the organization’s new name. Among strangers, or people unfamiliar with the senior housing industry, names like “ABHOW” or “be.group” don’t inspire the same level of interest as “HumanGood,” he reckoned.
For example, Cochrane envisions his employees on airplanes, sharing with those seated nearby that they work for “HumanGood.” This, he predicts, will immediately spark strangers’ interest.
“It begs and invites human conversation and exploration,” he added.
Going forward, the organization intends to focus on three areas in particular: reinventing the CCRC, growing its affordable housing portfolio and designing products and services for the middle-market senior. The company doesn’t anticipate any structural or personnel changes as a result of the rebrand, Cochrane said.
The organization’s 3,600 team members currently serve almost 10,000 senior housing residents in more than 80 communities across five states. ABHOW merged with be.group in May 2016, and Cornerstone Affiliates was in talks to sell senior living management company Seniority Inc. as of November 2016.
Written by Mary Kate Nelson