More than 5 million US troops fought in the war on terror. Their homecoming has sparked the creation of a new generation of veterans service organizations to support the 1% of Americans who have served.
One such organization, The Mission Continues, has helped more than 800 veterans create a positive legacy of continued service by engaging them in a program that combines six months of community volunteering with a curriculum aimed at helping them find full-time employment or return to school.
But, in order to grow, it needed stronger brand recognition.Focus group research revealed the organization's old logo and tagline, "It's not a charity. It's a challenge," confused audiences as people mistakenly thought the group was not in need of donations and financial support.
Seeking to connect with veterans, donors, and charities, The Mission Continues partnered with FleishmanHillard to redefine its brand. It started with simplifying the group's complex work to this succinct message: "The Mission Continues empowers military veterans to serve their country in new ways."
By focusing on veterans' enduring spirit of service and mobilizing a national network of supporters, the group empowers veterans to solve challenges facing them. A new tagline - The Mission Continues. Reporting for duty in your community - crystalizes this purpose.
The corresponding new logo expresses the veteran's journey through an eagle, symbolizing military service, and a dove, which represents continued service in the community. The birds come together inside a patch to emphasize their military careers and post-military goals as part of one continuous journey that deploys their unique talents.
The new branding was unofficially launched on the day before Thanksgiving at a food bank event that brought veterans together with President Obama, as they served meals to dozens of underprivileged families.
The event was covered by outlets including ABCNews.com and Bloomberg News, which resulted in more than 40 million media impressions.
A new website, an online video with a message from the group's president, and social posts introducing the brand elements received hundreds of social likes and shares in the first 24 hours.
The rollout will continue this year through a variety of channels, including incorporating the new branding into community service project designs.
FleishmanHillard's Scott Clark is SVP and director, account planning.