Fresh off the bus: Merakey

Rebranding a large nonprofit to reveal its heart and soul

  • Merakey

NHS Human Services (now Merakey), serves over 40,000 individuals with behavioral health, intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism each year by providing a range of solutions from schools to residential homes to integrated clinics and more.

The organization has grown both geographically and in the range of services it provides since opening its first center in Northwest Philadelphia nearly 50 years ago. NHS today operates over 650 locations across multiple states, yet despite its sweeping scale and wide-ranging expertise, it faced a major hurdle when it came to defining and communicating its brand. Who is NHS, what makes it different from other providers and what does the company truly stand for?

NHS partnered with Bailey to address these fundamental questions and strongly reposition itself for the future. Bailey first set out to more clearly define the vision, approach and culture of the organization and, over a period of months, conducted exhaustive research, workshop sessions, large-scale surveys and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders.

The insight we uncovered revealed the core characteristics of NHS—the essence that distinguishes it from other providers. It also suggested an opportunity to better integrate the various areas of the organization and to unite its employees around a shared vision for the future, including a new name. This dramatic repositioning would help break down internal siloes and better clarify and convey the brand story: a unique ability to provide holistic, integrated services and new models of care at speed and at scale.

The new name, “Merakey,” is inspired by the modern Greek word “Meraki,” meaning to put something of yourself into your work; or to do something with soul, creativity or love. The new branding illustrates the compassion and integrity that underscores everything the company does, while the inclusion of the suffix “key” also positions it as a key to helping individuals and communities unlock doors to their future.

The new logo, formed from a series of interlocking hearts, reinforces the meaning behind the name and speaks to the integrated services Merakey provides. The color palette is vibrant and contemporary, and establishes a color code for the divisions of the company—each of which now has a more credible and consistent identity to interface with the communities it serves.

Following internal brand launch events, NHS formally became Merakey on April 1, 2018, and the rollout will continue throughout the year. The new identity enables Merakey to more clearly articulate the underlying essence of the organization and helps unite over 10,000 employees behind a shared mission and vision for the future.

Merakey New Visual Identity