Finding one brand's voice

The Challenge

The UNFCU brand didn’t sound like it cared. It spoke in a cold, stilted, non-inviting tone. While staff wanted to communicate in a more caring, optimistic manner, they lacked the strategic tools and practical guidance for doing so. This created a huge divide between the organization’s mission statement (“Serving the people who serve the world”) and how its brand came to life verbally.


We knew that developing a new voice without first rooting it in a strategic platform would ultimately fail. To begin our collaborative partnership, we discovered UNFCU had been trying to crystallize their brand’s “why” for some time. But they didn’t know how to finalize and communicate it across the broader organization. Together we revisited and refined their work, ultimately creating a foundational blueprint to guide all brand development and deployment. Then we set out to operationalize its expression.


By approaching UNFCU’s challenge through the lens of activation, we identified and uncovered where gaps existed between the brand platform and how effectively its essence was communicated with members. A detailed, overarching activation plan—a roadmap covering everything from launch to tactical brand implementation—served as our north star for evolving UNFCU’s brand. Based on the plan’s direction, messaging pillars and a personality were then created, followed by a more approachable tone of voice to weave everything together into a cohesive narrative. Tailored guidelines and training ensured the new voice would live and breathe on a global scale, yet still communicate in the trusted, face-to-face, handshake with a smile way UNFCU was renowned for.


UNFCU’s refreshed brand, including tone of voice, launched in the fall of 2019. Training sessions are now underway for internal communicators and external agency partners.