Connecting a not-for-profit financial services company with the communities it serves
How does a 50-year-old company approach a new brand transformation that aligns with the enormous progress and relevance it holds today?
In the case of not-for-profit, independent financial services organization ICMA-RC, the challenge carried several other key questions. Founded to help city and county employees plan for retirement, the organization grappled with the future direction for their brand: Should we change our name? How can we capture our mission-driven spirit while signaling a new era for the business? And how can we expand our audiences to include healthcare, education and non-profit as well as government employees?
Enter Lippincott to help find the answers and shepherd them through a variety of key stake holders including the company’s board of directors, executive leadership team, corporate partners and teammates.
Through extensive client and industry research, we learned that the ICMA-RC’s key audiences were underserved by larger competitors, and no one in the landscape could compete against the deep commitment they have to their community. The organization had always been vocal about being not-for-profit, but there was an opportunity to more clearly state how that benefits their members.
In developing the brand platform, we judged that the name, ICMA-RC, was obscure and a hindrance to the brand’s growth. We led a process of extensive name generation to create the new one: MissionSquare Retirement. The name reflects the familiar idea of a town square, grounding the brand figuratively and literally at the heart of a community.
Building from the brand platform and new name, we developed a brand architecture, logo, visual identity system, messaging strategy and launch plan that included compelling messaging to reach broader set of audiences: from city and county employees to public employees of all kinds, so that more of the right customers could see themselves in the organization.
The logo and visual system impart a new level of emotion and warmth in the brand. From the “window of opportunity” created by the radiating ‘o’ with a square inside, to the multicolored lines of the ‘o’ representing the diversity of their audiences coming together, the foundational elements of the brand are combined with newly expanded photography, graphics and data visualizations.
The result is a brand that both honors the company’s history and reflects its vision for the future — to become the most trusted retirement plan provider for those serving their communities. It balances the organization’s strong history of innovation, service, and expertise with the promise of better experiences, more choice, and access to more holistic financial guidance. In short, it’s the perfect vehicle for MissionSquare to stake its well-earned position on and drive the business to a brighter future.