The decision to change the Corporate Chaplains Canada brand, a brand that has existed and been in the Canadian marketplace for over 15 years, was not a decision that was made lightly, nor was it an obvious choice. There was so much history attached to the brand, many relationships formed, and angst of uncertainty in changing.
- "If we make this change, will people recognize our brand?"
- "Will our current clients and those who have been supportive of our work accept and support a change?"
- "What will we change to?”
- “How do we make a change that is an obvious improvement to people who see it?”
- “Are we making a change for a purpose or just for a change?"
In early 2020, we set out to explore these questions and embark on the journey of clarifying our vision, mission, and purpose in the Canadian workplace.
This foundational work was ultimately the groundwork for our brand change.
Instead of starting with a new name, colours, and brand identity, we started with questions such as "What is the value we bring to our clients?", and we allowed this exploration to drive the final product.
This began with significant research into chaplaincy as a profession, our history as Corporate Chaplains Canada, and the needs of the modern Canadian workplace (you can see some of this research in The Changing Canadian Workforce data sheet).
Challenges & Shifts due to Pandemic
However, this was a challenging time amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Identifying the needs of the contemporary workplace was a challenge and we also knew from our work with current clients that much of the data and research from pre-COVID times would not translate after the pandemic.
These cultural events shift everything, and not just temporarily. For instance, remote work grew astronomically, and suddenly working remotely became a long-term strategy for some companies.
This led to more questions about whether Corporate Chaplains could adapt to an online format. Before the rebrand, the value we touted to prospective clients was that Corporate Chaplains Canada offered the "face-to-face difference." But, during COVID, this was impossible with some of our clients, as we needed to get creative, adapt, and find ways to support our clients through unprecedented uncertainty and personal challenges.
A Changing Value Proposition
This led to the first significant change; we realized that our value proposition had shifted from simply being a face-to-face presence in the workplace to being an employee and family assistance program that has a felt presence in workers' lives and seeks to better the situations of workers under our care.
We moved from highlighting us being physically present to being an actionable extension of a company's belief and value of their employees. For example, a company offering a chaplaincy program has chosen to financially support their workers, not because it is required by workplace insurance, but because they value the employees and want to see them thriving and overcoming personal challenges that ultimately impact their professional lives.
In talking with our clients and chaplains, we also recognized that our name was unattractive to workers.
For starters, many of our clients are not in a corporate setting, so the first word in our name was not something that our clients identified with, so much so that many chaplains had already switched over to being called workplace chaplains on their own. So, for the workers we cared for, we were not Corporate Chaplains Canada; one of our chaplains Greg is known as the "Wednesday Guy."
As we recognized that the term “corporate” was organically fading from our presense in these workplaces, many of our concerns were alleviated about the impact of removing “corporate’ from our brand.
This led us to change from corporate chaplains to workplace chaplains.
But the next question we looked at was whether we wanted to maintain the title "chaplain"; was there a different term we could adopt? What connotations does “chaplain”, as it is a term rooted in religious history dating back 1700 years, invoke?
In our research, we recognized that the history surrounding chaplaincy is not, in any way, adverse history. Instead, chaplains have historically filled a particular role in society—someone who does not come to fix problems in crisis, tell someone what to do, or judge them for their current predicament, but instead takes the shirt off their back and sits with the person in the crisis and listens.
Rather than running from this philanthropic and humanitarian name, we wanted to push into it further and bring the discussion about chaplaincy to the forefront of workplace wellness.
The workplace has enough professional and personal coaches and wellness facilitators, but it does not have enough chaplains.
*For more on the history and origin of chaplaincy, you can read Workplace Chaplaincy: A Creative Solution Built Around Employee Needs.
The final part of the name was Canada. While this is still true to our DNA - we operate and seek to increase the health and wellness of Canadian workers - this does not fit in our brand identity for three reasons:
- First, it is redundant. We are proud to be Canadian, but we are only marketing and operating within Canada, so it is clear we are a Canadian workplace just by going to our website.
- Secondly, many of the workers we are working with are not Canadian - they are foreign workers visiting Canada on a visa, or they are migrants who identify with multiple nationalities, or refugees who want to go home. So, to include Canada in the name could create a barrier, or, at the very least, a place of little resonance with many of our clients, which is not our goal. When building a new brand, we want every single employee we connect with to identify with our value to them.
- The final reason is that we do not see our future only operating within Canada! We have a model built around employee wellness, and employee standards are much lower and more challenging in different ways worldwide, so we are not settling for just reaching Canada. We are already in talks with companies in Taiwan who see the value of chaplaincy and want to bring our services in an indigenous way to their companies, and we want to meet this need!
With this deconstruction of our name and value proposition, we were tasked with re-constructing the pieces, our research, and the many stories we collected from business leaders, chaplains, and workers.
Looking at what our purpose in the workplace was, the entire brand began to fall into place.
We exist to make the workplace better but that is too corporate and impersonal. Chaplaincy is far more intimate than simply enhancing the company's bottom line; it is about the actual workers. That is our signature difference; we exist as chaplains to care for and recognize the humanity of people. Our context is in the workplace and recognizing the humanity of workers who can often suffer in silence, feel unseen, and even invisible. While we want to appeal to new businesses, we also want to appeal to the actual workers that we exist to support.
This led us to the quest to define the problem we are solving in the workplace. Now that is a monumental task that hundreds of research articles, studies, polls, and HR departments have sought to solve … what is the common factor affecting productivity, absenteeism, morale, mental health, and turnover?
The simple answer is that the universal problem is whatever it is to the worker.
Trying to push and define such concepts into a box ultimately misses the entire point, misses the nuance, the individual nature of an employee and the very humanity of the person, because now they are an employee with a problem that needs to be solved, not a person who is struggling with it and is seeing the impacts of it in many aspects of their lives.
We, as chaplains, recognize that the problem does not define the client, that whatever it is, it matters, and we fundamentally believe that it can be better.
The goal is not to create a petri dish employee with no issues, because that is not possible. Perfection is not the goal; the goal is better. A healthier, more whole employee, in our experience, is a better employee, and so our work focuses on whatever needs to be better to unlock their potential.
BetterIt Workplace Chaplains
It was these discoveries that led us to our new name: BetterIt Workplace Chaplains.
Our name is our brand promise that a workplace AND a worker can see whatever the problem is made better!
This led to the design inspiration for our logo. The logo shows two people on a journey—one leads the way. Together they step over the obstacle in the way. But, in another workplace, with another worker, it's not an obstacle; it is a step towards a better and more wholesome self.
We chose the violet and deep blue colours as a complete overhaul and refresh to clearly distinguish our new brand from our past identity. Our blue was selected to bring about calmness, peace, trust, and dependability, while violet is a colour of creativity, healing, restfulness, a sense of order, and holistic spirituality.
Vision & Mission
The vision of BetterIt Workplace Chaplains is to be a national provider of employee wellness that is trusted and respected in the Canadian marketplace so that we can see more of the Canadian workforce brought under the care of a chaplain.
The mission of BetterIt Workplace Chaplains is to place catalytic chaplains into workplaces across Canada through business relationships and partnerships to catalyze the personal growth and wellness of every employee we care for in a professionally transformative and contagious way.
To follow along our journey or learn more, check out our website at BetterIt Workplace Chaplains or follow our LinkedIn, where we post multiple times a week: BetterIt Workplace Chaplains LinkedIn
Jonathan Kraft is the Assistant Director with BetterIt Workplace Chaplains. He is passionate about the evolving workplace in Canada and the growing awareness to mental health struggles of Canadians. He loves seeing the impact of chaplains in the workplace and is excited to see this model expand into more companies!