United Way is a national brand. It’s also a brand that, like many brands in the large-nonprofit category, gets abused when taken to the local level — and we don’t just mean graphically, we mean in terms of what it stands for. As a firm that’s committed to defending the high ground, it’s important to take brands back to their source, which is what we did with MUW — a brand that represents community and unity.
In addition to better positioning the brand, we also had to deal with the local brand changing itself operationally; rather than being a “clearing house” for funding, which it had been viewed as traditionally, it was morphing into a comprehensive community resource, a partner to whom anyone could turn for help with early childhood, youth, health, or financial support. We needed to build a place where people could come and be heard, where they could learn, and most important, where they could contribute.