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UNMC Vital Campaign


The Cultural Challenge

The University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) underwent a full rebranding process with a large national firm in 2010. Through in-depth brand research, “vitality” surfaced as a fundamental brand theme organization-wide. Though well-founded and strongly validated, internal stakeholders – from students and staff to medical faculty and executives – struggled with the word’s applicability to their everyday work life.

dda conducted additional strategic research, including surveys, roundtables and interviews with members of the broad UNMC team. What we discovered was that, although the two words are kin, the UNMC team resonated most with affirmation that they, their jobs and their contributions are “vital.”

We took that discovery and ran with it to help boost morale organization-wide. It worked.

A Vital Solution

We created an eye-popping wordmark for the internal campaign, elegantly articulated in the negative space of a square and punctuated with a bold period – substantiating that those working on the UNMC campus are vital, without hesitation and without question. This campaign, supported by the organizational core values came alive in on-campus signage and in “Vital Paks,” which were brochures/posters distributed to every internal stakeholder.

Furthering the dynamism of the Vital campaign, we created a set of four “Vital Pins,” each color of which is aligned with a core value. Through an internal URL or handwritten “Vital Notes,” staff have the opportunity to nominate their peers for vital actions in their day-to-day work. People were empowered to understand, value and live the tenets of their new brand.

Today, displayed Vital Pak posters and lanyards laden with precious Vital pins dot the campus – proving that we helped UNMC take a vital step to improve internal culture.

I have found dda to be resourceful, thorough, and innovative in assisting us with the project. Activities have ranged from conception to design and delivery, and have been uniformly exceptional. These have included planning and design of informational and communication methods and activities to elevate employee awareness and support, redesign of employee reward and recognition programs to incorporate the brand, review and recommendations regarding hiring and onboarding processes, and numerous other elements. My most positive observation would be that, in addition to providing creativity and imagination to our project, dda has been consistently practical in the approach taken and recommendations made. This is extremely important given our limited resources.

- John Russell, University of Nebraska Medical Center

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