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Agrace HospiceCare News

Rebranding can be risky, rewarding

By Shayna Mace, Madison Magazine

It's an image still burned in many women's (and men's) minds: Isaiah Mustafa, shirtless, on the beach, riding a white horse, hawking Old Spice. When this campaign debuted the day after the Super Bowl in 2010, Proctor & Gamble, Old Spice’s parent company, “started with outstanding content, spoofing every stereotype of masculinity they could come up with through clever writing and pitch-perfect casting,” writes

Before this ad, I sure didn’t know anyone using Old Spice who looked like Mustafa—and that’s exactly what P&G was going for. The brand needed a proverbial kick in the pants of its formerly stuffy, old-guy image. So was the campaign successful? “Sales of Old Spice Body Wash, which were already on the rise, rose sharply—by fifty-five percent—over the three months following the first aired TV commercial, then soared by 107 percent,” reports So maybe it was those abs?

Joking aside, rebranding can be a huge risk for a company—but many times it is a necessary evil when a company’s numbers are flat (or declining) or customer feedback demands it.

“More than just a logo, rebranding should be accompanied by stronger marketing messages, fresh packaging, great design and a notion of lifestyle not associated with more generic messages,” Andrew Goldberg, senior vice president of marketing and strategy at Dialogic, tells “Great rebranding can dramatically change market share within categories, justify premium pricing or justify line extensions that open new markets or geographies.”

One major local rebrand you may remember happened in 2011 when HospiceCare Inc. changed its name to Agrace HospiceCare.The impetus for this revision?“We were shocked to learn that people couldn’t tell us apart from other hospices because of our generic name,” says Liz Kopling, Agrace’s director of marketing and communications. The company did research through focus groups and conducted a survey through Chamberlain Research Consultants to inform its decision.

Kopling notes one survey quote that stuck out at her was “HospiceCare Inc. is generic. It’s like calling one of the local hospitals ‘Hospital, Inc.’” Amazingly, recall was very low for the HospiceCare Inc. brand—even though the company had a majority of market share in Dane (ninety-seven percent) and Rock (fifty-four percent) counties at the time. Kopling also says the “Inc.” at the end of the name “sounded corporate, causing some to assume HospiceCare is a for-profit organization.”

The “grace” portion of the name was suggested by a focus group member.

“Everyone immediately loved the idea of ‘grace’ and how it captures the spirit of hospice, but there are already ‘Grace’ hospices. We needed something original and—if our research taught us anything—it had to be memorable,” says Kopling. Hence, Agrace was born.

From start to finish, the changeover took eight months—and it’s served Agrace well, says Kopling. “Our name recognition has gone through the roof, and I think that matters to people because of the type of business we are,” she says.

Cost Cutters manager donates time at Agrace HospiceCare regularly

Beth Anderson of Cost Cutters Volunteers

One Watertown Cost Cutters
manager donates her time and
talents twice a month to offer
cuts, shampoos and styles to
Agrace HospiceCare patients in
Fitchburg. Beth Anderson cuts
the hair of Robert Beyer of
Waterloo at the Cost Cutters
inside Walmart in Watertown.

By Becky Vosters of the Watertown Daily Times,

A manager at a Cost Cutters in Watertown who describes her job as an adrenaline rush has the added thrill of volunteering her time doing what she loves.

Beth Anderson of Jefferson donates her time twice a month to provide cuts, shampoos and styles to terminally ill residents at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg.

Anderson has been working with hair for 20 years and volunteering at Agrace for almost a year now.

“The people are amazing and so appreciative and their families are amazing too,” Anderson said.

Anderson was asked by her general manager to join the program and jumped at the opportunity.

Twice a month, Anderson goes to Agrace and to work with the patients there.

“She’s very dedicated to this role and I can see her heart and soul in it every time she comes,” said Barbara Graham, Agrace inpatient volunteer coordinator. “She has the ability to make each one feel really special.”

“She is so compassionate with every person she works with and it just shines through,” Graham said.

In 2006 Bill Kaminski, owner of 50 Cost Cutters in the area, donated a salon at Agrace in memory of his sister.

“The people there don’t need money,” Kaminski said. “But it’s really powerful when you make them look better by fixing their hair.”

The salon is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Thursday for the patients who are interested.

Anderson said the most popular request is for people to have their hair washed and dried.

“Sometimes I cut it and style it, but sometimes they’re in a situation where they just want it washed and dried,” Anderson said.

Working in a hospice where one may only see a customer a few times before they pass away can be a challenge.

Anderson describes herself as someone with a strong heart, but she recalled one instance she found particularly difficult.

“There was one gentleman I worked on and he was very close to my age and he was there for a short period of time,” Anderson said. “I cut his hair two or three times and the next time he was gone already.”

“I think because he was so close to my age it was really hard for me,” Anderson said. “I have three kids and a grandbaby on the way. I’m in the prime of my life and to hear somebody who’s my age is gone now is just really tough.”

“If you’ve had loss in your life it can trigger those feelings of grief. Sometimes we recommend a volunteer stop working with someone,” Graham said.

Anderson is an outgoing people person and she said talking is good, but not the most important thing.

“You have to be able to talk to people, but you also have to be a really good listener.”

Kaminski provides vacation time and pay for his stylists who are willing to volunteer and be a part of the program.

Kaminski said Anderson is outstanding and he cannot say enough about her.

Anderson went to cosmetology school right out of high school and has been working at various salons ever since. She tried working for a full service salon but found it wasn’t really where her passion was.

“I found myself doing more nails than hair and I like doing nails, but I love doing hair.”

Agrace to Host Free Hospice and Palliative Care Discussion at Janesville Senior Center

JANESVILLE, Wis. – Agrace will host a free educational discussion at the Janesville Senior Center, 69 S. Water Street, Janesville. “Making the Hospice and Palliative Care Choice,” will be held on Monday, October 12, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Facing a serious or terminal illness can be a very stressful challenge, and many people are not familiar with the help that’s available in their community. Agrace can greatly improve the quality of life for the person who is ill as well as their caregivers with a ‘whole person’ approach to care and support. Those who attend this discussion will learn:

  • What makes someone eligible for hospice or palliative care, and how these two services differ
  • What to expect when you choose comprehensive end-of-life care
  • Where care is provided, and who pays for Agrace’s services.

This session is free and open to the public. Advance registration is not required. Please call (608) 755-1871 with questions. For information about other educational discussions hosted by Agrace, please visit


Founded in 1978, Agrace is a nonprofit, community-supported hospice and palliative care agency dedicated to providing exceptional care and support to patients and families facing the challenges of serious illness. With offices in Madison, Janesville and Baraboo, Agrace serves more than 650 patients every day in southern Wisconsin.




Agrace to Host Volunteer Open House in Janesville September 28

JANESVILLE, Wis. – Agrace, Wisconsin’s largest nonprofit community hospice and palliative care agency, will host a volunteer open house on Monday, September 28, from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Agrace Center for Hospice & Palliative Care Center, 2901 North Wright Road in Janesville.

Agrace needs volunteers willing to provide companionship, comfort and support to patients and families. An Agrace volunteer coordinator will be on hand to answer questions about Agrace’s many volunteer opportunities including specialty roles, such as cosmetology, music and art. There are also several volunteer roles that do not involve direct patient care, but allow others to develop skills in ways that support Agrace staff and visitors, including cooking, hospitality, gardening, assisting with special events and thrift store volunteering. Volunteers are always needed for Agrace’s Janesville thrift store.

In 2014, Agrace’s generous volunteers donated more 70,000 hours to support hospice patients and programs in southern Wisconsin.  For more information about volunteering, contact Agrace’s Volunteer Services Department at 608-314-2922 or visit

Founded in 1978, Agrace is a nonprofit, community-supported hospice and palliative care agency dedicated to providing exceptional care and support to patients and families facing the challenges of serious illness. With offices in Madison, Janesville and Baraboo, Agrace serves more than 650 patients every day in southern Wisconsin.



New Scholarship Program Paves Path for Adults of Color to Launch Health Care Careers

MADISON, Wis. – Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care today announced the launch of a new scholarship for adults of color who want to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or an emergency medical technician (EMT). The program, called “Collaboration for the Calling,” is a partnership between Agrace, Catholic Charities of Madison and Ryan Brothers Ambulance Service. These organizations are committed to

creating a workforce that is as diverse as the people they serve throughout southern Wisconsin.

Collaboration for the Calling scholarships are an expansion of a program Agrace launched earlier this year for disadvantaged students of color who recently graduated from high school. “The feedback Agrace heard from our high school CNA Scholars Program was so positive that we immediately began to look for ways to expand our efforts to include adults,” says Lynne Myers, President & CEO of Agrace. “There is an important role for the business community to play in opening up career opportunities for individuals who may not have previously had an ability to pursue higher education. I am delighted to have found like-minded organizations in Madison who are willing to join Agrace in these efforts.” 

Collaboration for the Calling scholarships pay for adults of color to learn, train and prepare to work at one of the three sponsor organizations after they finish their education through Madison College. Upon the students’ certification, Agrace and Catholic Charities will hire CNAs, and Ryan Brothers Ambulance will hire EMTs. These positions are often the first step on the path to more advanced jobs in health care, such as nursing and paramedics.

Students selected to participate in the program will receive full tuition, books and supplies as well as peer mentoring to enhance their professional development. The cost of the certification exam is also covered by the scholarship.

“Catholic Charities is proud to partner with Agrace and Ryan Brothers in responding to solving community needs,” says Jackson Fonder, Catholic Charities Madison President & CEO. This collaboration allows us the opportunity to enhance our commitment to racial minorities and address the disparities they face. By assisting participants in securing meaningful employment, we can help them lead better lives.”

“Ryan Brothers Ambulance is proud to be able to contribute to this collective effort of expanding opportunities and providing new career possibilities. Health care is in need of an ever-expanding workforce and Emergency Medical Services is an excellent starting point to build a career or progress into the higher levels within health care,” says Patrick Ryan, president & CFO, Ryan Brothers Ambulance. “We are committed to enhancing the diversity of our workforce and believe that providing opportunities to persons who are underrepresented in the EMS field is a significant step in reflecting the communities we serve."

Full details and the scholarship program application can be obtained by calling Alia Dayne at Agrace at (608) 327-7236 or visiting deadline to apply is November 2, 2015.

The scholarships are funded through the Agrace Foundation. Please contact Marcia Whittington, Agrace Chief Development officer, at (608) 327-7205 to discuss how you can support this initiative. More information about the work of the sponsor organizations is available at , and

Founded in 1978, Agrace is a nonprofit, community-supported hospice and palliative care agency dedicated to providing exceptional care and support to patients and families facing the challenges of serious illness. With offices in Madison, Janesville and Baraboo, Agrace serves more than 650 patients every day in southern Wisconsin.



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