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    Communicating Change: WoodmenLife Tower’s New Look

    The WoodmenLife Tower was built in 1969 and has been a staple of the Omaha skyline for more than 50 years. It even claimed the title of the tallest building until the First National Bank of Omaha tower was built in 2002. 

    The company behind the tower, WoodmenLife, was founded in 1890 as a not-for-profit and offers quality life insurance and retirement products. It has more than 700,000 members across the country and hundreds of employees. 

    Over the years, the 478-foot tall WoodmenLife Tower has seen the birth of countless peregrine falcon chicks from atop of its 30 stories, with photos and videos of the new hatchlings shared annually on WoodmenLife’s social media and its website. It also has experienced several upgrades, including an LED light system installed in 2014 that is capable of generating 16 million different colors and graphics. WoodmenLife frequently lights the tower at night for many organizations, events and holidays.

    In 2020, a new upgrade was announced by the WoodmenLife communications team: changing the sign atop all four sides of the tower from “Woodmen” to its current namesake of WoodmenLife. Communicating the sign change to members, employees, the news media and the Omaha community was a tall feat with months of planning. PRSA Nebraska member and WoodmenLife Director of Communications, Kerry Heinrich, APR, shared insight into parts of the communication planning and execution. 

    “Our communications team has been working closely with the project manager since the initial planning stages. Back in February, we received approval from the Omaha Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to move forward with the project to update the lettering, changing ‘Woodmen’ to ‘WoodmenLife,’” Heinrich said. 

    Planning also included careful consideration of timing for when the old letters would begin to come down. WoodmenLife hatched a plan for the letters to begin being removed in June, after the peregrine falcon babies hatched and fledged so that the construction would not disturb the birds. 

    The official announcement was made in June right before the letters started coming down, which included a news release to the local media.

    “The media in Omaha has always shown a strong interest in the Tower, and we thought that they would want to cover such a major change to the Omaha skyline. They have been very supportive of covering the project,” Heinrich said. “They have enjoyed following along, as there have been some entertaining letter combos on the building throughout the process.”

    In addition to keeping associates up-to-date through internal communication along the way and sharing news on social media, Heinrich and her team developed a place in WoodmenLife’s online newsroom to allow members of the public and news media to follow along with the project. WoodmenLife’s communications team has been writing ongoing updates and posted photos and videos of the action at newsroom.woodmenlife.org since the project began.

    In early July, the project moved into the clean-up stage where the outline of the previous letters will be removed ahead of placing the new letters. 

    “We hope to have the new lettering complete by September. Our project manager is keeping the communications team up-to-date and well-stocked with photos, and we will continue to share the progress with the media and the community,” Heinrich said. 

    You can learn more about WoodmenLife, it’s services and the WoodmenLife Tower by visiting woodmenlife.org and you can follow along with the progress of the WoodmenLife Tower at newsroom.woodmenlife.org

      

    Images by WoodmenLife

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