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Have you heard? People are talking about healthy branding!

By Kelly Farrell | April 29, 2018


Trade show season is in full swing. And I love it.

I just got back from my first two shows of the season – The Admissions & Marketing Symposium and NATCON18 – and am continually humbled and honored by my experiences. The people, the energy, the conversations. They get me going and keep me going.

Upon returning from each show I find it extremely helpful to pause and reflect on everything I experienced and learned: the news, trends, and innovations in behavioral health and substance abuse treatment; the wonderful connections I made with people who are, as Brené Brown says, “choosing to work on the hardest edges of love”; the themes emerging from conversations and presentations.

People are talking. About building healthy brands.

This year I am proud to see and hear the theme of building healthy brands and organizations emerge.

The health of leadership – are you leading with your core values and having tough conversations to grow? Taking care of your house, your internal culture, so that you can take care of your mission.  Cultivating an environment where people feel connected, safe, and heard. Understanding, at your core, why you do what you are doing and being able to share that openly and honestly.

I’ve been honored to speak about healthy branding at these events for a few years now. I try to consistently share the fundamental keys to building a healthier brand:

  • Assess fearlessly
  • Know yourself and your audience
  • Know what makes you special
  • Make a promise you can keep
  • Deliver your message authentically

It fills my heart to hear that the conversation is catching – that people are actively carrying on the conversation and spreading the word. The phrase “healthy branding” may not be used directly, but the themes are there.

Here are some of the things I’ve heard at the shows thus far:

  • Your Story + Passion + Values + Skills + Expertise = Purpose – Derek Daley, Co-Founder, Legacy Outdoor Adventures
  • Don’t just focus on clients’ symptoms. Tell their story, tell the why. – Elizabeth Irias, CEO, Clearly Clinical
  • Be heard, because your words matter. – Linda Rosenberg, CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health
  • Everyone has a story. And it’s our job to give them the opportunity to tell it. – Mark Oerther, Director of Business Development, Red Oak Recovery
  • Organizational health can only be built from the top. This is all an inside job. – Mike Neatherton, CEO, Northbound
  • Culture is everything. Know what makes you different, take a position, and build a brand. – David Guth, CEO, Centerstone
  • Just be yourself. No matter what. – Brené Brown

My true passion.

My promise, designRoom’s promise, is to help organizations that help people build healthy brands. I love that, in my small way, I’m helping to support the mission of those working in behavioral health and substance abuse treatment. Mike Neatherton, CEO of Northbound said, “At the end of the day, we touch lives, that touch lives, that touch lives.” And that’s why I love what I do. Helping, in my way, to touch lives.

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Kelly Farrell

Kelly has a unique talent for uncovering what's special about her clients. It’s her specialty, and the heart of how designRoom approaches branding.Kelly learned design and branding while working in advertising as an Art Director, Designer, and Account Representative for several national/regional brands; Cellular One/Ohio, Northfield Park, National City Bank, and Mr. Hero. Her future, however, included a more passionate approach to the work and more direct engagement with her clients.In 1990 designRoom was born. One room. One designer. And lots of room to grow.Today, under Kelly’s leadership, designRoom is a national, award-winning branding and design firm. With her innate ability to see the right solution and her passion for helping clients reach their goals, Kelly is a fierce brand advocate for behavioral health organizations across the U.S.Her unique approach makes her a sought after national speaker on the importance of branding in behavioral health. Kelly focuses on how branding can unify an organization internally, amplify their unique market position, and help them move in a positive, sustainable direction.

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