Branding from the Inside

Last year, I was delighted to mark a huge milestone in Vanguard’s history: our 30th anniversary. To commemorate this occasion, we implemented a multifaceted strategy that focused primarily on service to the community and lifting up others. A key part of this strategy was developing a partnership with George Washington University’s Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute to provide paid internship opportunities and mentorship in communications and public relations for students who have demonstrated leadership and a commitment to serving the Hispanic community. It felt right to celebrate our legacy in this way, and I can tell you that we learned as much as we taught.

Reaching this milestone also inspired us to revisit our brand.

We last touched our visual identity in 2006. Eleven years later, we felt that we had outgrown it. Because we had chosen to celebrate our three decades in business by also looking toward the future, it seemed natural for us to take a look at our visual assets and make sure they still communicate who we are and why we are in the PR business: People-first. Purposeful. And always striving for progress.

I can tell you that the process was long. As many of our clients know, it’s no small feat to rebrand yourself! While our extensive branding expertise gave us a map to follow, we took some liberties with our usual process along the way.

First, I knew there was equity in our old logo. (We will never relinquish our beloved purple! That was a mandatory.) Second, I elected to use our in-house design team on the project. A highly tenured group of professionals, they each have their own style and experiences with the firm, which came through in their designs. Third, understanding that approval by committee could slow down the process even further, I worked nearly exclusively with the design team. I got to be the client for once!

Today, I’m proud of where we netted out, with a new logo that exemplifies our values. I hope you see in it what I do: We have open minds and genuine optimism about the future of our country and our world. (Note the open “C” in our logo, which represents an eye toward the future.) We are committed to prioritizing the people who both guide and benefit from our work in the nonprofit and government spaces — hence our new tagline “People. Purpose. Progress.” Our 30 years in business provide a solid foundation for developing innovative strategies to strengthen communities every day.

It’s impossible to know how long this new logo will serve our interests, or what the next 10 years will bring, but one thing is certain: Our mission will never change.