This 30 year-old organization

wanted to re-position themselves in the market in a unique & authentic way

In 2013, The Haven engaged in a brand strategy and messaging exploration based upon Soulful Brand’s core philosophy of resonance:

To resonate with your best-fitting customers, first resonate within your organization.

This is their story…


WHY does The Haven exist?

The Haven is a centre for transformative learning located on Gabriola Island, Canada. They offer programs in a group setting, focusing on self-responsible relational living.

In 1985, the two founders of this not-for-profit educational organization developed an approach to “the art and science of living well together” derived from an intense investigation of their own relationship, as well as their experiences with clients.

True to their roots, The Haven is guided today by the belief that through relating, we come to know ourselves and others. They are compelled by the possibility of a world where every person is whole and responsible for themselves and their environment.

BEFORE working with Soulful Brand

“Despite the fact that thousands of people reported the life-changing impact of our programs, when we wanted to reach out to the broader world it was difficult to describe what we do. We didn’t agree on how to express who we are or how we’re unique.

We wanted to be a single organization that could speak with one voice, but we all had different ideas about what was core to our work and how to talk about it. We also wanted to leave enough room for people to express the essence of who we are and what we do, in a way that felt true for each person.

At the same time, there was this concern that if we put ourselves out there more, we would become inauthentic or pushy. We were stuck in a low-risk outreach strategy that sounded like, ‘people will find us when they’re ready’ and ‘word of mouth is best.’ The time came, however when we knew something had to change.”


WHILE working together

“Soulful Brand took us through a process that was like an archeological dig, unearthing our core as a community. While we looked forward to the deliverables, we knew that having the discussion take place was the most important piece.

Our core working group participated in multiple teleconferences with Soulful Brand that all retained a kind of depth—it was surprisingly personal and relational, given that we were not face-to-face (or even all in the same country). Most of our stakeholders are dispersed geographically, so it was a huge benefit to be brought together virtually.

To further include others in the exploration, we held our own feedback meetings and Soulful Brand held 1-to-1 interviews with key stakeholders. They also oversaw a survey for the wider community while helping us make sense of all the input. Along the way, our community expressed great appreciation for simply being asked to participate in the process.”


AFTER Engagement

“I was proud of our community and the range of people who were willing to come together and align around an idea. I didn’t know if we’d be able to pull it off, but we did—partly because of the hard work and dedication of our core working group.

We have a revitalized sense of who we are and the unique role we play in the world. We know how to talk about our work in a relatable and authentic way.

We have a set of messages to lead with in our marketing communications—even the people who aren’t part of our faculty can now speak about our work with confidence.”

Long-Term Outcomes

  • Two years after the Soulful Brand engagement, more people are attending their core program offering than in any of the prior ten years.

  • The Haven’s unified sense of how they talk about their organization has reduced time spent on creating marketing materials and orienting new hires.

  • The Haven foundation board even pulled directly from the brand positioning work for an internal vision statement. Usually they update and change it, but due to the depth of the brand work, it’s been the same for the past few years.


“This is not the kind of thing you can just force through—this is your identity and messaging. You have to have buy-in.

I’ve had experiences of doing websites before branding and it’s crazy-making. How do you know where to start with a website if you don’t know what to say? If you haven’t identified the core elements of the brand, then how can you put that into a set of messages?

Take the time and invest the resources you need to do this properly rather than skating over the surface of it. It may involve some messiness, some conflict, some disagreement… and it should if you’re doing it right.”

~ Rachel Davey

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