Oak Park Township provides crucial social services, many of which the people of Oak Park may not even realize are available. Depending on circumstances, residents may be aware of one or two services offered. The township wants to raise awareness and use of its full array of services.
“It’s important that they understand what we do,” said Township Manager Gavin Morgan. “Not knowing that we’re here and not having the knowledge of our services really was a barrier to accessing our services and it was a negative for the community.”
The township soft launched the rebrand, complete with a new logo, on Monday. The goal of the rebrand, according to Morgan, is to establish an easily recognizable identity for the township encompassing all its myriad age, income and ability-inclusive services and programs. All those services will remain intact as the rebrand will not change the functionality of the township as a social services agency.
“If anything, we’re stepping those up because we know with more visibility is going to come with more people accessing the services and that’s the goal,” said Morgan.
The township is frequently recognized on the state level for its services. Recently, the Illinois Township Association of General Assistance Caseworkers named Oak Park Township as “2021 Township of the Year.” The township’s general assistance administer, April Dugal, was also awarded the “2021 Caseworker of the Year” by the Illinois Township Association of General Assistance Caseworkers.
The township’s lack of a cohesive brand presence has limited its ability to reach people in the community and connect them to such needed programs as senior meal deliveries and wellness checks, transportation, youth and family support and mental health services. The township board and its staff have long wished to see marketing on par with the quality of its services.
“We’re social service providers,” said Morgan. “Marketing is not our strong suit.”
To carry out the rebrand, the township enlisted the services of Oak Park-based design consultant Nancy Morris of N2, who worked with a committee of township staff from each of its departments. The entire process of developing the rebrand took about a year to complete and cost under $10,000, according to Morgan. Much of the copywriting was done in-house to keep costs affordable.
Graphic designer Jim Bernard, also an Oak Parker, developed the township’s new logo, which is reminiscent of an oak tree with color-blocking between branches. The splashes of color signify the different township departments. The branches represent all the different avenues of services that stem from the singular township entity. It was chosen out of several provided by Bernard.
As the primary objective of the rebrand is to shine attention onto the township and what it provides the community, communication will be key to its success. The township is launching a messaging campaign June 13 using a brand-new framework. Oak Park residents can expect to receive more email messages and social media postings out of the township. The township is also taking out an insert in the Village of Oak Park’s print newsletter.
“I think there was a lot of confusion about what the township is and does and we’re hoping to address that.”