On November 7, 2019, the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) welcomed more than 600 people to its Maryland campus to celebrate the opening of a fourth academic building—a $175M Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education Facility, known as the BSE.
The grand opening event kicked off with a luncheon and program, featuring the presidents of three partner universities: University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, College Park; and UMBC. Following the luncheon, guests gathered in the atrium of the BSE to hear from speakers—including Governor Larry Hogan—and to celebrate the official ribbon cutting of the building. After the ceremony, guests explored the building and participated in a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medical (STEMM) Showcase, which brought aspects of the building to life with displays from 14 academic programs and eight industry partners. Students and staff were stationed throughout the BSE to serve as interpretive guides for guests. The event exceeded the set attendance goal by 20%.
As a long time, invested partner in Universities at Shady Grove, Mission Partners previously supported USG on the groundbreaking ceremony for the building and managed complexities of project management, communication, and media support for this critical moment in the organization’s history, and future. The event boasted a strong print and broadcast showing—eleven onsite media teams—and coverage of the event garnered more than 7.8M impressions from 13 news stories, including two consecutive days of coverage in The Washington Post with an op-ed and feature piece on the front page of The Washington Post’s Metro section.
In the summer of 2019, NewsMatch engaged Mission Partners to develop the messaging and strategy for its fourth annual campaign, which runs from November through December. In the wake of “fake news” and powerful politicians’ attacks on the free press, NewsMatch has supported unbiased and independent journalism through a national matching-gift campaign designed to grow fundraising capacity in nonprofit newsrooms and promote journalism as a philanthropic cause. As the media industry continues to evolve, the support NewsMatch provides is more important than ever.
To begin, Mission Partners conducted a comprehensive peer set audit, and then guided NewsMatch and its partner funders through creating a message framework to help align 2019’s campaign. After in-depth interviews with NewsMatch’s newsroom participants and partners, Mission Partners also created the theme of the campaign. Along with messaging, media relations, training webinars, toolkits, and the creation of talking points, Mission Partners updated NewsMatch’s visual brand and created customizable digital and social graphics for newsrooms across the country to utilize. The paid social media strategy was further enhanced by a PSA video Mission Partners worked alongside a third party to create.
The 2019 NewsMatch campaign saw its best-ever #GivingTuesday returns, and of the 198 participating newsrooms, 187 customized or implemented materials provided to them.
For 150 years, The New York Foundling has trusted in the power and potential of people. While the Foundling’s history and legacy in the field are among its greatest assets, the Foundling knew its brand needed to be updated to showcase the Foundling’s evolving suite of services and better convey the organization’s transformational impact. The Foundling engaged Mission Partners to create new messaging for the organization, as well as rebuild and redesign the Foundling website.
After conducting a comprehensive audit and peer set review to better understand audience perception, Mission Partners guided the Foundling through the process of establishing a messaging hierarchy, and created updated talking points and concise program descriptors for shared language among team members. Mission Partners then supported the Foundling through the creation of a comprehensive brand book and conducted a series of message training sessions to ensure all team members felt comfortable speaking on behalf of the organization. Lastly, Mission Partners worked in close coordination with the Foundling to completely overhaul their website, making it easy to navigate for the Founding’s many audiences.
With updated messaging and a new website, the Foundling is now well-positioned to work alongside their current and prospective clients and effectively share how their work impacts people’s lives.
How Does an Association Launch a New Brand That Resonates with Existing and Prospective Members?
The Association of Corporate Citizenship Professionals has been the leading membership organization for CSR-minded professionals for over a decade and a half. While ACCP’s history and legacy in the field are among their greatest assets, the brand needed to be modernized to showcase ACCP’s ability to continually evolve and stay one step ahead of the growing industry. In the fall of 2018, ACCP engaged Mission Partners to create a new visual brand and messaging. To go along with the updated brand, ACCP also worked with Mission Partners to redesign ACCP’s website to create a better, more efficient user experience.
At this time, the organization had recently undergone a leadership transition, and a new CEO meant a new era for ACCP. The corporate citizenship field is changing rapidly, and ACCP’s prior messaging and visual branding didn’t convey ACCP’s expertise and recent growth. Updating ACCP’s brand was a necessary step in growing the membership base, further engaging current members, and better articulating the breadth of the services ACCP offers. At the start of this project, Mission Partners conducted a brand audit and peer set review to better understand how members perceived ACCP and how ACCP’s presentation was tracking against competitors. These initial assessments showed that from a messaging standpoint, ACCP’s talking points weren’t clear enough, and they didn’t fully capture ACCP’s growth and how the corporate citizenship field has evolved. And from a visual standpoint, the logo didn’t stand out or convey anything about corporate citizenship.
Now, ACCP’s new visual identity is professional, but approachable, and the three interlocking circles in the logo represent the “triple bottom line” approach: people, planet, and profit. For messaging, Mission Partners led ACCP through the process of establishing a messaging hierarchy and updated talking points, which make it simpler for members and the board to share what they love about ACCP. As part of a more encompassing communications plan, Mission Partners also created a brand book, a year-long communications strategy, member recruitment materials, social media graphics and templates, and a member benefits explainer video, “What an ACCP Membership Means for You,” all of which helped advance ACCP’s goals of retaining and growing their membership base.
For the final component of the rebrand, Mission Partners worked alongside ACCP and a third-party vendor during the summer and fall of 2019 to redesign ACCP’s website to reflect the new brand. What was once a difficult-to-navigate site filled with an overload of information, is now a more engaging, streamlined platform for current and potential ACCP members. Along with the new website, Mission Partners also redesigned ACCP’s newsletter template for The Wrap, which simplified the weekly creation process for ACCP, and established a stronger hierarchy of information so readers can find information more easily.
ACCP’s rebrand was a crucial step in prioritizing the growth of the organization and further establishing ACCP as the leader in the corporate citizenship field. Mission Partners continues to support ACCP through member acquisition, ACCP Conference, and overarching communications and thought leadership strategies.
“We are proud to introduce ACCP’s new brand, which reflects our ongoing mission to empower corporate citizenship leaders to strengthen their companies and improve the world. This new branding recognizes that our field and our association are ever-evolving, and reflects the energy and vibrancy that our members bring to corporate citizenship every day.” —Carolyn Berkowitz, President & CEO
For more than 20 years, Per Scholas has been driving positive and proven social change in communities across the country, and has been hailed as one of the most effective models for workforce development in the U.S., by the White House, Fortune 100 companies and scores of elected officials. And yet, when Per Scholas approached us in 2015, the organization had a lack of clarity for how to talk about its own model, and certainly not consistently. The leadership was too close to their own issues, and they struggled to identify their priorities, which was limiting the organization’s ability to reach its full potential. Our team guided Per Scholas’ national leadership and board through several strategic planning exercises before ultimately helping the organization completely reframe how it talked about its work and impact. The work resulted in a nationwide brand refresh, and a strategic communications plan that for the first time has provided the clarity needed for the excellence of this organization to shine through at every level.
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