Tuesday, July 13

Why Just Y?

The YMCA announced yesterday that it will be shortening its brand name to just "Y" as part of a five year plan to completely rebrand its organization across its vast network of resources. Let's face it, we've been calling it that for decades anyway.

Funny because just a few weeks ago social media outlets, and even my blog, were all a twitter over Chevrolet supposedly not wanting to use the name "Chevy" anymore. And here the YMCA is embracing its nickname, and attempting to freshen its positioning and its look as a result.

I think it's smart, honestly. If you've ever experienced a YMCA, you will notice that the network is quite inconsistent. Some locations are fabulously modern, while others are in desperate need of a reinvention. Some have gorgeous state of the art gyms and recreation facilities, while others are well .... . By giving the brand a national overhaul, perhaps management will be able to give its locations some consistency of services, environments, and branding. In this case, a shorter and hipper version of its name will reinforce the changes being made inside.

The brand's mission isn't really changing, if you read the fine print. Just a little more welcoming and perhaps more of a focus on youth, but still providing resources for all kinds of people and their various needs. And hopefully consistently from location to location.

I applaud the work. But must acknowledge that the dance floor will never be the same. "It's fun to stay at the Y" -- I'm sure The Village People aren't too happy.

What's your experience? Jim


  1. It's about time they got with the times and dropped the 19th century trappings. In this age of diversity and acceptance could they have had a more polarizing (official) name.....Young Men's Christian Association? They're simply catching up with where their customers and society generally have been for a long time.

  2. Changing the name won't mean a thing unless they really become consistent, as you wrote.