With Its New Brand-Consistent Graphics, Logo and Voice, the Twin Cities Nonprofit Is Better Able to Serve Homeless Youth, Executive Director Says
With the help of leading brand agency CBX, the Twin Cities nonprofit YouthLink has undergone the type of rebranding project normally reserved for savvy commercial clients such as General Mills, Best Buy or ConAgra.
“Already, the changes are helping YouthLink better serve homeless youth in the Twin Cities,” said Dr. Heather Huseby, YouthLink’s Executive Director. “Our brand now stands out and is consistent and unique, which has helped us better communicate with clients, the media, other nonprofits and our donors and volunteers. CBX has helped us learn how to tell our story, and that can actually help us save lives.”
Winner of “Nonprofit of the Year” in 2013, YouthLink is known for its effort to empower homeless or otherwise disadvantaged youth from the Minneapolis-St. Paul region. Despite having a strong purpose, “the brand was inconsistent and lacked a common visual and verbal voice across various communication channels prior to the branding exercise,” said Nancy Brown, Managing Partner of CBX’s Minneapolis office. The purpose of the redesign was to solve this problem by creating a new logo and unifying YouthLink’s graphics, voice and messaging.
“Either you take a conscious approach to telling your story, or your story gets lost amid a sea of competing messages,” Brown explained. “In the commercial marketplace, having an inconsistent brand message is a major hindrance to clear communication with your intended audience. Smart nonprofits know this is true in their space as well.”
During the research phase of the project, CBX brand experts encouraged the whole organization to engage in a dialog about YouthLink’s mission and messaging. This in turn helped guide and shape the rebranding effort, Dr. Huseby noted. “It led to thoughtful conversations throughout our organization, including among the youth themselves,” she said. “Every nonprofit should go through this kind of process. It taught us to look inside of ourselves and ask who we really are.”
YouthLink builds healthy relationships with youth and the community to address youths’ urgent needs so that doors of opportunity are opened to futures of empowerment, connectedness, and self-reliance. They serve as a critical resource for homeless, precariously housed and marginalized young people ages 16 to 23 by providing a safe, supportive refuge where youth can find help meeting basic needs. You can find more information at www.youthlinkmn.org.