BRANDING EXERCISE AIMS TO HELP BRING HUMANISM TO A WIDER AUDIENCE

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By Audrey Kingstrom

Thanks to everyone who completed the branding survey Humanists of Minnesota undertook last November with the design firm Imagehaus. The Board very much appreciates the participation of our members and friends. HofMN member Amparo Gonzalez won our participation lottery and will receive a $50 gift card.

The survey asked questions like: ”What would be Humanists of MN’s favorite room in the house?” and “If Humanists of MN were no longer around, what would be missed most?” This process aims to help us create a “brand DNA” that reflects our values and experience— and captures the attention of the untapped growing demographic of “nones” (those without religious affiliation), our target audience. We would like to align all our messaging and design, for example our logo, with our strategic goals, especially that of appealing to a younger audience.

The survey identified our distinctive traits as an organization: we are champions of human rights and real-world views, cultivate personal growth and scientific reasoning, and offer a non-theistic, secular, caring humanist community. How do we give that identity a more distinct look and feel?

If Humanists of MN were a person, we would be gender-neutral. We especially like pizza and healthy, organic, locally-sourced food, and lean toward a vegetarian/vegan diet. We hail from the Twin Cities (no surprise there), but gravitate toward other big cities of freethinkers, e.g. San Francisco, Portland, Boston, Austin, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

We use public transportation when possible, are concerned about minimizing our carbon footprint, and hence seek out  eco-friendly vehicles like bikes and electric and hybrid cars. We like rooms where we can socialize (living room, family room, kitchen) and rooms for reading and gathering information (library, computer room, den).

The quintessential Humanist of Minnesota persona is intelligent, informed, rational, progressive, respectful, purposeful, genuine, compassionate, friendly, witty, serious, encouraging, inclusive, open, and accessible. But true to life, this persona is not without faults and has also been perceived as pretentious, arrogant, rude, grumpy, small-minded, smug, and superficial. Ouch. We’ve all got things to work on.

Of course, for our branding purposes, Imagehaus will help us put our best foot forward. In the next couple of months, we will be honing in on our most effective messaging, a new look and logo, and a consistent style guide. Stay tuned.

— Audrey Kingstrom is Humanists of Minnesota president.