Branding the Illinois Collaboration on Youth
The project’s biggest challenge was the need for a new, consistent and simplified identity. Illinois Collaboration on Youth (ICOY) supports organizations that promote child and family welfare – through policy and advocacy work, as well as training and technical assistance. As ICOY Marketing Communications Manager, Elise Povejsil, describes it, “We’re a sort of pseudo trade association.” Over the years, ICOY has undergone multiple mergers, joining forces with other like-minded organizations. Not surprisingly, there has been a significant branding issue that had to be thoughtfully addressed. With the many changes, not only had the brand image become diluted, there was also a muddied message in terms of support services offered to members.
Because of a history of acquisition, consolidation and change, ICOY needed to update and unify the organization’s identity and brand platform to drive differentiation and increase awareness.
It became abundantly clear that developing a centralized, overarching brand architecture and aligning all member service teams under a unified brand identity held the promise of eliminating confusion, boosting awareness, and inspiring and supporting a positive and cooperative organizational culture.
After reviewing final results from the organization’s strategic planning initiative, we held a kick-off call with ICOY Leadership, conducted online surveys with staff, the Board and member organizations (62 total respondents), and reviewed ICOY’s existing brand and messaging. Assessing all raw data and conducting a thorough organizational comparison provided the ICOY internal team all the research they needed to drive a strategic, solutions-based approach. As a team, we were able to determine there was substantial existing equity in the ICOY name. That’s where the design process started.
After creating several options for a rebranded logo and tagline, the ICOY team settled on a look and feel that presented a united front. The final choice was a simple but high-impact logo, a benefit-driven tagline and a compelling messaging framework – based on ICOY’s core values. The dR digital team then moved forward to develop a new, user-friendly website interface, as well as a brand style guide.
ICOY has become recognized for becoming the largest provider voice for youth-serving programs and services in Illinois – advocating for legislation, policies and practices that keep children, youth and their families safe and healthy. A unified rebranding has worked to bring about the realization of shared support services, standardized procedures and processes, and the marketing and motivational power of a single brand.
Because ICOY offers accredited training to member organizations, the website was a fundamental part of operations. And it is often the first introduction external audiences have to the ICOY brand. During COVID-19, offering online training became more important than ever and ICOY was equipped to meet the challenge with far greater ease.
“I appreciate that designRoom had an intentional, structured and efficient process that guided us through the creation and roll-out of our new brand – even throughout a pandemic.”
Andrea Durbin, ICOY CEO