Case Study

Lynn Sage Cancer
Research Foundation rebranding

On the occasion of their 30th anniversary, we met with Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation to discuss a new look and feel for their venerable but rapidly evolving organization.

Founded in 1985 by friends and family in honor of breast cancer victim Lynn Sage, the organization is most renowned for its tradition of turning downtown Chicago buildings bright pink every October. But loyal supporters know that the organization does much more than arrange light shows. Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation (hereafter, LSCRF) has raised over $40 million to support cutting-edge research and education at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. LSCRF is arguably one of the country’s leading philanthropic organizations investing in the science of breast cancer.

Given the organization’s origin, its large board, and its impressive volunteer culture, rebranding required sensitivity and an inclusive process. Many founders and board members had deep emotional attachments to Lynn, who was pictured in the original logo.

Younger leaders recognized the organization’s rapidly evolving role as a leader in funding advanced research. Seeking a more future-oriented brand, they asked us to strike a balance between the organization’s more traditional value set (e.g., empathy; compassion; connections to survivor narratives) and the Foundation’s emerging character (e.g., scientifically and financially savvy; intent on investing in the most innovative and promising research programs).

We provided LSCRF leadership with a position and messaging strategy focused on the theme of “life-changing breakthroughs.” Inspired by the quick consensus around this theme, we offered a range of logo designs that evoked hope with a subtext of science. The rebranding committee chose the winner quickly.

We presented our brand recommendations and the complete identity system to the entire board for consideration and approval. The rebranding was embraced enthusiastically by all in attendance.


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