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Alliance for Healthier Communities

Turning a member organization into a movement

The Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) was a great organization built by bold, passionate, energetic, and deeply progressive members. 

This 107-agency-strong member organization needed a new name that spoke to their purpose in an engaging, inviting, and evocative way, while communicating the profound evidence-based knowledge that guides all they do.

The problem with member organizations is that they’re not often accessible. The AOHC wanted to invite people to participate and to learn. They needed a name that reflected the open, forward-thinking breadth of their research and work. They needed to carve out space as a thought leader in the world of comprehensive primary health care. They also needed to bring a broader cross-section of people into the world of their work.

In pursuit of a new name, we wanted a collective word that invited participation in the work and goals of the AOHC. We wanted a word that felt as warm and community-based as the organizations that make up the AOHC’s membership. We found that word in Alliance. The underlying meaning of ‘alliance’ is truly foundational to what this organization is all about. As a word it can be used as shorthand, and as an idea, it communicates strength and focus.

The association had a problem articulating its nuanced and powerful work to stakeholders, many of whom were unfamiliar with the community health centre model. Through research, interviews, and workshops, we learned that explaining what they do was one of the biggest challenges faced by both association employees and their member organizations.

The ‘Association of Community Health Centres,’ as a name, was literal, but didn’t connect through meaning. It wasn’t sticky or shareable. It also suffered from regularly being reduced to its acronym.

Our goal was to ensure that the new name served as an entry point into a conversation about the world of community healthcare, and the organization that represents it. It also needed to speak to positive outcomes. 

And so, the Association of Ontario Health Centres was put to rest in favour of a new action-based and inclusive brand: Alliance for Healthier Communities.

This new name uses language that broadens the AOHC’s reach, moving the story from insider speak to general audience.

Everything the Alliance for Healthier Communities does is guided by solid research. For the brand identity, we wanted to create a mark that would speak to the warm and welcoming nature of their member organizations, while also alluding to the breadth of expertise and research that informs all they do. This is how ‘The Asterisk’ was born. It allows them to speak clearly and boldly, while still referring you to the footnote. The Asterisk is a playful tool that the Alliance has used to great effect, highlighting important details, research, and supplemental information.

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