Empowering the world’s largest charitable organization
As it prepared to celebrate its 125th anniversary, United Way sought to refresh its communications to optimize its effectiveness in driving results. Research had shown that there was an opportunity to create tighter alignment between the United Way brand and the compelling LIVE UNITED campaign, as well as to add clarity to messages around United Way’s areas of focus.
MBLM, whose partners had worked with United Way in 2002 to enhance the impact of the United Way brandmark and identity system, began by assessing United Way’s communications to thoroughly understand how the LIVE UNITED message and United Way brandmark were being used. We observed that LIVE UNITED, initially a tagline, had become the dominant message in United Way’s communications and that the role and visibility of the United Way brandmark was far diminished.
The solution we developed embraced the direction in which United Way’s communications had been heading by creating fixed lockups of the United Way and LIVE UNITED marks to balance the visibility of each. MBLM also created fixed artwork for key messages around United Way’s impact areas and call to action, as well as a white frame layout that acts as both a distinctive graphic treatment and a holding shape, to enhance understanding through consistent placement of United Way’s key messages. The system included solutions for the national organization as well as for the 1,500 local United Way organizations around the world. A number of other elements were added to update the system, including a consistent graphic treatment for icons, as well as a proprietary 125th-anniversary mark to commemorate and build awareness of United Way’s longevity.
United Way began implementing these new identity elements in May 2012 and, as recommended, has changed its URL back to unitedway.org. The system has received a positive response from the community-based United Way organizations through which United Way’s work is accomplished.