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Many regional organizations adopt a new name when expanding their scope nationally. Their local identity may limit their ability to move beyond their successful but well-established geographic focus. Or their existing name may present other challenges when trying to build strong, national recognition.

The National Center for Conservation Science and Policy (NCCSP) faced this type of challenge. As a non-profit organization out of Ashland, Oregon, it already had a presence in natural resource policy making in Washington, D.C., but was known primarily for its northwest focus. Its “alphabet-soup” NCCSP moniker also didn’t help in a city where faceless acronyms were the norm. NCCSP needed a strong, distinctive identity that would help them command attention as they spanned the nation and ultimately the globe.

After several rounds of creative, GEOS was selected as the new name. It was short and punchy and came from the Greek word for “earth” which connected nicely to the NCCSP’s expanded mission. It was simple to spell, easily remembered, and conveyed a sense of gravitas and seriousness that fit the organization’s “solid science” reputation. Additionally, it was the antithesis of a regional name – by default the “earth” affects everyone no matter where they may live.

The GEOS Institute will continue to expand its influence on policy making in Washington, D.C. under its new moniker. Its stature and mission will be easier to articulate to advocacy groups and politicians because of its new name. GEOS stepped outside the comfort zone for scientifically-oriented organization branding with a short, snappy identity that ties back to its mission, its science and its passion.

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