The New York Times unveiled the news last week, Y is Downsizing to a Single Letter, and today the YMCA of Silicon Valley announced it was following the national lead: the new moniker is simply, “the Y,” and the mission would focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
YMCA of Silicon Valley and its 12 locations in the area has joined with the 2,600 Y’s across the US to simplify its message and will launch “a fresh, new visual system built around a revitalized logo with a forward-looking design and multiple color options.”
Individual locations will still keep their full YMCA names, but going forward, the non-profit collectively is adopting the more informal and welcoming name that is already widely used by most people—“the Y.”
“At the Y, strengthening community has always been our cause,” said Kathy Riggins, president and CEO of YMCA of Silicon Valley. “We are simply changing how we talk about ourselves, so that people better understand the benefits of the work we do in this community.”
While there is nothing earth shattering in changing a logo to fit what has become reality, tinkering with anything to do with the YMCA is a marketing challenge. Just a year ago, a report of non-profit organizations named Y.M.C.A. to be the most valuable brand in the non-profit field. Today’s press material acknowledges, “Since the Y has enjoyed one of the most recognized brands across the U.S. it didn’t undertake the rebranding process lightly. The new strategy is backed by two years of research and analysis, including conversations with members and non-members.”
Still, the new look and tone seems less about change and more about freshening and updating. Members and donors already refer to the organization as “the Y” and locally one of the organization’s key annual fundraisers, the Community Support Campaign, has focused on youth, healthy living and social responsibility for a number of years.
For those who are interested in the marketing side of things – what goes on behind the scenes at a local level as part of the ongoing strategy for the local organiztions, check out this blog post, Retooling the YMCA of Silicon Valley
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