Agency Of Record
Branding a Renewed Promise to Members.
For over 40 years, the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) has elevated the field of corporate governance — from promoting more diverse and inclusive boardrooms to driving environmental, social, and governance standards.
But, the field of corporate governance is at an inflection point. The role of the director is evolving. More than ever, boards are facing complex, unpredictable challenges. As a leading voice on corporate governance and director education, NACD is trusted to help drive this transformation.
Despite a history of excellence, NACD had become a little outdated. As a brand that actively anticipates and embraces change in the governance space, providing actionable insights on emerging trends, the external perception needed to match reality. Our team was approached to refresh the NACD brand to better serve its 22,000 members, chapters, and the corporate governance community at large.
A new logo represents the thoughts, feelings, and experiences their audiences feel when they interact with NACD. Updated messaging better communicates who NACD is, what they do, and why it matters. An ambitious mission shifts the focus from products to people.
NACD has strengthened its position as a source of education and resources for directors, boards, stakeholders, and the larger business community, and established four themes as pillars of the brand’s DNA: Connective, Elevated, Bold, and Insightful.
Because the new brand elevates the NACD commitment to empower directors and transform boards, they are able to convert more directors into members and launch ongoing, audience-first marketing campaigns that resonate in the hearts and minds of boardroom leaders everywhere.
In embarking on the rebrand of our organization, it was essential for us to select an agency partner that could help push our brand forward competitively and one that could understand our audience at a deep level. Beyond Definition was chosen for this work because we recognized their capabilities as partners that could help us do the job today and grow with us into the future. The feedback on our new brand mission, vision, and visual identity has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’ve expanded our work with Beyond Definition. They now operate as the agency of record for NACD.
For our team, phase one is all about building a stable foundation of brand research and discovery to work from. We customized our signature approach to align with the exact challenges of the organization, gaining insights from conversations with the NACD leadership team, a competitive analysis, stakeholder interviews, customized brand workshops, and an in-depth brand audit.
Ultimately, the long-term strategic goal for NACD is to move into a more member-centric organization, focused on elevating members as the driving force behind the brand. Our findings and insights revealed that this is possible with a clearly defined, audience-driven brand strategy, a refreshed visual identity, and a set of guidelines and brand architecture to ensure internal alignment and external implementation.
Informed by audience personas and a signature brand workshop, our team developed the NACD brand strategy to structure how internal and external audiences talk about, perceive, and experience the organization. As trusted catalysts of economic opportunity and positive change, we wanted the brand’s essence to reflect leadership in everything produced.
So, the new mission, “We empower directors and transform boards to be future ready,” pushes this overarching value to the forefront while clarifying what it means to be a part of the NACD community.
A defined tone, voice, and brand value proposition make this mission tangible.
We also delivered a strategic internal resource for leadership, staff, and content creators to ensure all external communications are consistent.
After establishing the brand strategy, our in-house creative team began working on evolving the NACD logo, typography, and visual identity system. The primary NACD logo is composed of an icon and customized logotype. The icon represents a doorway to new opportunities and striving toward something bigger — growth in one’s career, the next layer of expertise, insight in the boardroom. Angled shapes used in the icon come to a point, emphasizing precision, which is also present in the letterforms.
NACD old logo
NACD new logo
This logo reflects the NACD promise to continually exceed expectations and provide members with opportunities for personal and professional growth. The logo features the community trifecta, symbolizing the three different certification programs — Accelerate, Directorship Certification, and NACD Board Leadership Fellows.
The NACD chapter logo lockup will be used for affiliate groups of the NACD brand. These logos are comprised of the NACD logo with a chapter name added.
NACD OFFICE SIGNAGE
NACD is a professional organization. But it’s also bold and forward-thinking. With a fresh mission, vision, values, and visual identity representing over 21,000 directors, the launch needed to respect the past and open an exciting door to the future. We worked closely with NACD to develop an overall strategy and campaign theme to activate the new brand with internal and external audiences, craft chapter messaging, and build a landing page.
The core campaign theme, “It Starts Here,” was crafted to inspire NACD members and ignite their imagination on what’s possible.
What does “It” stand for exactly?
Governance starts here.
Insight starts here.
Growth starts here.
Performance starts here.
The next generation of boardroom leaders starts here.
It Starts Here, with NACD.
A launch campaign is just the beginning. Everything we create needs to be sustainable with the ability to scale. Beyond Definition continues to roll out marketing campaigns for NACD, including campaigns focused on membership and building awareness around the Directorship Certification program and the Center for Inclusive Governance initiatives.
NACD Directorship Certification is a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of directorship. It is designed to inspire and prepare directors to perform in the face of change.
The scale of these changes — globalization, digital transformation, cybersecurity, the speed of business and disruption — has required new standards of education and training to keep pace. To highlight its credibility and authority as the “Voice of the Director,” and complement the brand refresh, we rebranded the Directorship Certification program.
This started with a distinct research and discovery phase that included an audit of the NACD Directorship Certification program brand, a thorough review of existing NACD research and communications outputs, stakeholder interviews with leaders and members, and an analysis of other organizations that offer similar programs or courses.
We discovered the certification program needed to elevate in three areas: streamlining the member journey, carefully managing expectations, and identifying how a better brand experience can have a direct impact on positive experiences and word of mouth, all working toward the goal of greatly increasing adoption of the program.
This research, and the conclusions we outlined, provided guidance in developing a new value proposition, messaging framework, and laid the foundation for a brand awareness campaign.
A marketing roadmap was also developed to build on the awareness campaign’s momentum — by actively giving target audiences reasons to believe. The approach integrates and leverages current and potential owned, shared, earned, and paid digital and traditional channels and platforms.
Today, NACD has the strategy, identity, and blueprint in place to underscore its Directorship Certification program as the premier director designation available in the U.S.