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Hillside Family of Agencies

Building a Brand for a Statewide Family of Agencies

Founded in 1837 and serving over 11,000 people across New York State, Hillside provides families with vital health and education programs, residential treatment, foster care, and more. The social services nonprofit turned to Constructive to help unravel its organizational complexity and focus its branding.

Brand Strategy

How can we take the perspectives of multiple, diverse audience groups into account?

Planning for a major long-term capital campaign, Hillside sought to strengthen appeal beyond its traditional audience of government agencies. Our strategy process started with in-depth stakeholder surveys and interviews with 32 regional, program, and executive leaders to uncover insights and prioritize goals. Combined with stacks of commissioned research, customer surveys, facilities tours, and peer analysis, our brand research paved the way for deeper collaboration.

Surveys and workshops are great ways to learn about a nonprofit’s history and brand—but for brands that provide vital services directly to people and communities you have to get closer.

Brand Research

The best way to learn about a brand is to experience it first-hand.

We spent two days with 22 members of Hillside’s leadership team conducting brand strategy workshops, discussing Hillside’s culture, their complex system of care, audiences, brand perceptions, and more. We also toured their facilities, which provided us invaluable insight into what they do and why it matters. With a stronger understanding of Hillside’s history and mission, their organizational strategy, and the communities they serve, we set out to more effectively communicate them.

Positioning & Messaging

Crafting compelling brand messaging that sticks across a large team.

We collaborated with Hillside’s team to develop brand positioning and messaging that fully articulate the nonprofit’s mission and values. The resulting Brand Handbook helps establish a consistent message with language that can be drawn upon for all communications. It also serves as a guide for hundreds of staff to “live the brand,” uniting with a common vision that helps create consistent brand experiences that embody Hillside’s promise of value.

Brand beliefs, values, differentiators, an elevator pitch, and more are clearly communicated to help Hillside connect with a diverse audience of families, community partners, funders, and staff.

Visual Branding

How can we update Hillside's current identity, and make it flexible for the future?

Our logo redesign prioritized maintaining Hillside’s existing brand equity. We refreshed Hillside’s mark and selected brand colors and typography. We also developed affiliate brand architecture to create a design system that reflects Hillside’s commitment to families and being a forward-facing organization. Clear Brand Guidelines document Hillside’s design system, helping ensure long-term consistency in communications.

Our Client's Experience

As a large organization with a wide geographic reach and over 120 specialized programs, Hillside has often been challenged to communicate our message, both internally and externally. Constructive did a great job helping us create clarity. They took the time to really know us—engaging our people, spending time at our facilities, and actively listening—then helped us articulate Hillside’s story to our many audiences. The process was illuminating and rewarding—and has brought us together and made us stronger.

Dennis Richardson, President and CEO
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