a message with purpose Technical Supplement to the Y Voice and Messaging for Benefit Statements

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1 a message with purpose Technical Supplement to the Y Voice and Messaging for Benefit Statements YMCA of the USA Revised

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 purpose 4 when to use benefit statements 7 what to say 9 protect your y 10 contact information Benefit statements used in this resource are provided as examples only. YMCA of the USA discourages actual use of these statements due to potential existing Federal Trademark protection status. Use of these Benefit Statements may subject your YMCA to legal action for Trademark infringement. 2

3 purpose benefit statements Extensive research has shown that while most people say they are familiar with the Y they don t fully understand what we stand for. Benefit statements are an effective way to convey our message and create greater understanding about the impact the Y makes in communities. Communicating impact is critical. Among the most important factors for the general public and key influencers alike when deciding whether to engage or partner with an organization is whether the organization makes an impact. So, the Y s new message-driven visual system is designed to draw attention to our impact. Benefit statements are similar to headlines we ve used in the past they re big, bold and colorful, and they use all capital letters. However, whereas past headlines typically focused on what the Y does, benefit statements lead with why we do what we do. They communicate the impact that only the Y can make. This guide will show you how to create benefit statements and provide tips for protecting your Y from a legal standpoint when using them. Benefit statements focus on the Y s impact on individuals and communities. 3

4 when to use benefit statements 4

5 when to use benefit statements benefit statements All marketing and communications collateral that is designed to communicate who we are and what we offer posters, billboards, ads, brochures, websites, newsletters, etc. should utilize benefit statements. Many business essentials letterhead, membership forms, program registration materials, program schedules, etc. are functional and do not need benefit statements. Benefit statements are fluid and ever changing similar to headlines for an ad campaign. They are not meant to be slogans or taglines. As such, Ys should not create a list of stock benefit statements or assign benefit statements to specific programs on an ongoing basis. 5

6 when to use benefit statements benefit statements ALWAYS HERE FOR OUR COMMUNITY Billboard HAVING FUN AS A TEAM Poster Brochure Cover 6

7 what to say

8 what to say benefit statements Benefit statements are easier to create than you might think. Ask yourself and your staff open-ended questions like the ones below about how your program or service benefits its particular audience. Jot down the answers and then highlight the words that stick out as compelling and genuine. Often, these words can be fashioned into benefit statements. In asking these types of questions you will be laying the groundwork you need to create short, catchy benefit statements for your marketing communications collateral. Even better, these statements are truly about your Y s programs. Be sure to engage all levels of staff when creating benefit statements especially front-line staff, who see firsthand the great things that happen at your Y every day. Below are two sample questions, possible answers and suggestions for using them to create benefit statements. 1. Question: What do parents hope their children will get out of the Anytown YMCA s child care programs? 1a) answer: We provide an environment that is like home, full of kindness and support. 1b) answer: Kids try new things every day thanks to our amazing learning opportunities. 1c) answer: We have several group activities so kids learn how to work and play together. 1d) answer: We provide a lot of individual attention at the end of their day to make sure each child is progressing. Old Headline 1a) CHILD CARE 1b) HALF DAY PRESCHOOL 1c) PRESCHOOL 1d) AFTER SCHOOL CARE New Benefit Statement just LIKE HOME KIND & SUPPORTIVE TRY NEW THINGS AMAZING LEARNING EXPERIENCES LEARN TOGETHER, PLAY TOGETHER a great end to the day SEE PROGRESS 2. what are the experiences for participants in the Active Older Adult program at the Anytown YMCA? 2a) answer: Our Active Older Adults create friendships that go beyond the walls of the Y. 2b) answer: They get to try different things they otherwise would not be able to do attend the symphony, go bowling, etc. 2c) answer: They feel healthier and stronger because of their participation. 2d) answer: Our Active Older Adults feel the Y is committed to them and they are committed to the Y. Old Headline 2a) ACTIVE OLDER ADULTS 2b) AOA BUS TRIP TO SYMPHONY 2c) JOIN AOA 2d) ACTIVE OLDER ADULTS PROGRAMS New Benefit Statement FORGE FRIENDSHIPS BE ADVENTUROUS MOVED BY MUSIC FEEL HEALTHIER BE STRONGER BE A PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER 8

9 protect your y 9

10 protect your y benefit statements While YMCAs are encouraged to be creative, it is important to understand that popular slogans, taglines and familiar phrases from third party sources such as television shows, movies, music, advertisements, etc. should never be used to create a benefit statement. This use could violate the intellectual property rights of the individual or entity that owns the phrase. For example, a Y could not use LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR or I M LOVIN IT as a benefit statement because these phrases are already owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and McDonald s Corporation, respectively. Use of phrases, taglines, slogans, etc. owned by third parties could have legal and/or financial consequences. Y-USA strongly recommends using a benefit statement for no longer than six months. If your YMCA receives a notice of infringement related to the use of a benefit statement, you should immediately forward a copy of the notice to the Office of the General Counsel at YMCA of the USA for guidance at For these reasons, Y-USA cannot provide a library of benefit statements for local Y use. There is no way to guarantee long term clearance (i.e. the statement is not registered by another party) of any one statement for all possible uses. Popular slogans, taglines and familiar phrases from third party sources such as television shows, records, movies, etc. should never be used to create a benefit statement. 10

11 CONTACT INFORMATION All artwork and imagery used in this document are for visual reference only and should not be extracted from this PDF file. For questions regarding these standards, please /12

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