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Message from Senior Staff: Emily Gresham Wherle, Public Information Administrator

As I spoke with Tony Kramer, the current District Board of Health Chair, last month about his service on the Board and goals for our agency, I couldn’t help but notice a re-occurring theme.

“I am in awe of what happens at the Health Department, but we need to blow our own horn a little louder,” he said.

Kramer’s comments are echoed in our strategic plan for 2015-2020. Goal 2 of the plan is: “The Health Department will improve people’s understanding of public health through coordinated and strategic efforts to share the impact and results of our services as well as our contributions to the quality of life in our communities.”

So how do we accomplish this goal?

One of the first things we need to do is making sure that our proverbial horns are in working order. Two projects are underway this fall to help accomplish that.

Brand refresh

First, we are refreshing our brand and visual identity. It’s a project that’s long overdue—as we haven’t overhauled branding since 1999.

Another reason that we’re re-working our branding now is the upcoming move to a new district office. A lot of the collateral materials, like brochures, signage and business cards, would have to be updated for the move—so it makes sense to update our brand, too.

And, as I’ll discuss in more detail later, we’re re-launching our website—which will feature the new branding.

Our new logo is pictured at right. It’s intended to do three things:

  • Its colors incorporate our current maroon, which has become recognizable as being associated with the Health Department, but add more variety
  • The graphics that look like people overlayed on the shield represent a connected community, symbolizing the four counties and a variety of colors to imply diversity
  • The shield is a variation of the national public health branding, which was developed by the National Association of City and County Health Officials, and is used by other health departments through the country. The symbol’s three points illustrate the three core functions of public health — prevention, promotion and protection.

Something else you may notice in the logo is the shorter name in big type: “NKY Health.” This simpler name is intended to incorporate our social media handles. We’ll still use “Northern Kentucky Health Department” often, but “Independent District,” those fifth and sixth words, should be reserved for legal documents and other communications where letting your audience know that our health department is both a district and independent has meaning.

With the change in branding, look for some updated policies this fall around graphic design, written style and a “Visual Identity Guide”.

Website

For many people, the nkyhealth.org website is the first experience they have with our agency. Consider it our virtual front door.

Last fall, we worked with Vehr Communications, a local marketing and public relations agency, to conduct a communications audit. Their number one recommendation was to update our website. They said our current site “has fallen ‘victim’ to a job well done” and “creates a ‘jumbled’ user experience, making it very difficult for users to easily navigate the website and fully understand the responsibilities, priorities and role of the Health Department in Northern Kentucky.”

That doesn’t sound like an effective online tool with which to toot our horns.

So this fall, we’re undertaking a re-design of the nkyhealth.org website. Content on the updated site will be organized by the user’s need—individuals/families, businesses or organizations, and community partners. It will also be versatile, meaning the full site will be designed so that it can work on a variety of devices—smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc. This is especially important, as almost half of visitors to our site access it from mobile devices. A mock-up of the home page is pictured at right.

Timeline

We hope to rollout the re-designed website and refreshed branding before the Thanksgiving holiday. While the website will be a total switchover, branding will be a slower process, as we work to update materials through 2017 and 2018. Look for more details on that soon.

I like to think of this fall as our tune-up. We’re getting our horns polished and in good working order so we can move forward on the bigger, loftier goal of improving understanding of the services and value of public health in Northern Kentucky.