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Storytelling and consistent communications help overcome brand misperceptions

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

What’s in a name—other than a brand challenge? Robin Tooms interviews Thao Costis, CEO of SEARCH Homeless Services.

Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, VP of Strategy at Savage Brands and my guest again today is Thao Costis, CEO at SEARCH Homeless Services. So Thao welcome back to Brandonomics.

Thao: Thanks for having me.

Robin: I’m so glad that you’re here; today I want to ask you about the name SEARCH Homeless Services and I think most people are going to assume that they know what you do because the name itself sounds descriptive, but I imagine you come across a lot of kind of brand perception challenges because of the name so maybe you can elaborate on that.

Thao: Yes, I think when people think about homelessness or somebody who’s helping somebody who’s homeless they think about shelter and they think about food.

Robin: I know I did.

Thao: Right, and so it’s a natural thing and for us our services are really the guidance, it’s the counseling; it’s that one on one person who is helping somebody get motivated and change their ways to become independent.

Robin: So the emphasis there really is on the services part.

Thao: Exactly, it is. We don’t need a building necessarily because we are actually where the clients are whether it’s out on the street or it is in the apartment complexes where they’re living, but we need a hub where of course our staff can actually come back together and some clients do come to us for employment related services. So it’s getting people back to work and helping them get into housing and stay in housing; that’s what we’re about.

Robin: So how are you doing your education portion of that so that people can really understand and connect that mission with the name and they don’t just think shelter?

Thao: So it’s a constant communication through our social media and through website and things like that or we’re sharing the story of our clients and the relationship of our staff, our case managers, who are walking along with the clients through their challenges and guiding them towards change; so it’s, again, story-telling.

Robin: Well that’s perfect; I will go check out the Facebook page again and it sounds like what you’re saying is you’re sharing a lot of the actual activities and actions because it’s not just a structure, it’s the services.

Thao: Exactly.

Robin: Well thank you so much.

Thao: Thank you.

Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.


SEARCH Homeless Services helps thousands of men, women and children each year move from the streets, into jobs and safe, stable housing. SEARCH  meets clients where they are and gets them back on their feet through services that engage, stabilize, educate, employ and house.

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If you’re interested in knowing more about how purposeful companies attract the best employees, build loyal relationships with their customers, and differentiate themselves from their competition, then let’s start a conversation.