Strengthening Our Brand

How We Got Here 

The Transformation and Sustainability Plan established strengthening our brand as one of its six goals. During the open comment period stakeholders were asked to provide feedback on this goal – 58 percent supported rebranding, 12 percent opposed, and 30 percent were neutral.

Before deciding on the scope of the project, CNCS engaged a third-party research firm, Axis Research, to better understand the perceptions and awareness of the agency and its programs.

The firm conducted a multi-stage research project that sought input from our key stakeholders. This included in-depth interviews and a survey of nearly 4,000 members, volunteers, grantees, sponsors, and alumni. Additionally, a nationwide survey and focus groups were conducted to better understand public opinion.

Download research findings infographic

Click to View Brand Research Findings

 

Progress to Date

Building on the independent research results, CNCS has moved through the discovery, strategy, and release of our new brand and have now entered the implementation period of our new brand. This work has been informed by ThinkTank sessions, focus groups, and more with our key stakeholders including grantees, sponsors, members, volunteers, alumni, and staff. Hundreds of individuals participated in these sessions to share their thoughts and help communicate who we are and what we do.

When asked the question "Do you think the public understands the purpose of the organization and programs?" 97% said 'no'

When we consider the many brands we are trying to promote, it’s not surprising the general public does not understand our mission.

graphic conveying more than 15 CNCS brands yelling at a user, making it impossible for him to hear any

 

Based on their collective work, Brandpie made recommendations for our messaging and brand architecture.

Our recommendations: 1) Create a common language, 2) Speak with direction, 3) Clarify our role
 

CNCS utilized these recommendations to create a new strategy for messaging and our visual identity. In September 2020 we released updated messaging that will be utilized in agency materials such as website language, PSAs, brochures, and more moving forward to ensure we tell a unified story.

Our recommendations: 1) We need to align on one name to refer to the organization as a whole, 2) We need to simplify our brand architecture so that our programs tell our story

Brand Architecture

CNCS has evolved from its current brand architecture that consists of more than fifteen brands. As the research shows, using all these brands has made it very difficult for the public to understand any of them. 

Previous brand architecture - more than 15 brands/logos

CNCS will use a simplified brand architecture to communicate the opportunities available through its many programs operating as AmeriCorps, with the highlighted sub-brand AmeriCorps Seniors.

Simplified brand: AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors, logo design will be released late summer 2020

What Makes a Good Brand Architecture

  1. A simple structure helps key audiences to navigate and understand offering
  2. A logical strategy to incorporate new programs and partnerships with the unitary brand.
  3. Cost-effective for the strategy of the brand.

What Makes a Good Logo

graphic of various well-known logos and visual identities such as Instagram and Disney

 

How this Impacts Current CNCS Programs

While the public-facing brand architecture is now simplified, our programs, their mission and names, and the work they do is not changing with our new brand. When communicating with the public, we will lead with the unitary brand of AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors to more effectively communicate our story to the public, while continuing our mission to strengthen communities and foster civic engagement.

We welcome your insights – share them with us at transform@cns.gov.

Branding Project FAQs

 

Timeline

Updated June 2020. Subject to change.

Branding project timeline thumbnail

Click to View Updated Branding Project Timeline

 


comment icon

We Value Your Input

Have questions or comments? Please email us at Transform@cns.gov.

Back to Top