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Helen Keller

This is an achievement. It’s amazing how far the board has come over the course of this project. I’m excited by this.

Kathy Spahn, CEO, Helen Keller Intl



Before: This global brand consisted of little more than a logo and colors. The board and staff understanding of a brand’s role in business strategy was minimal.

After: The board and staff now clearly understand the role of the brand in achieving organizational business goals. The revised use of the name and the new tagline “Continuing Her Work” connect the organization emotionally to its founder and set the stage for the donor conversation. The new brand is a complete system tied to organizational strategy and enthusiastically supported by board members and field staff around the world.


As we conducted donor research, we found that there was a donor target entirely outside of their awareness. This finding was both a shock and a revelation to the client. Once discovered, this new donor target served as the organizing principle for the rest of the brand research and brand design work.

Tronvig’s brand strategy work was methodically arrived at and convincingly presented. It’s the strongest kind of recommendation, something you never would have arrived at, but once you see it you slap yourself, ‘Why didn’t we think of that?’

Nancy Haitch, VP External Relations, Helen Keller Intl

Discovery: Brand Pyramid

The initial discovery work was conducted in the organization’s New York City headquarters, gathering participants from their operations in North America, Africa, Europe and Asia. The key finding was to reverse the trend of leaning away from their co-founder Helen Keller and instead to more fully embrace her life and legacy as the central guiding light of the organization. She emerged as the essence of the brand personality and the de facto Brand Idea. This served as the guiding light for the rest of the project.

5. Brand Idea
Helen Keller

4. Core Values

  • Rigor
  • Integrity
  • Grit
  • Compassion

3. Why? (Emotional drivers)

I want/need …

  • a safer world
  • cost-effective solutions
  • to make a difference
  • to be part of something bigger
  • to assuage my grief
  • a return on investment
  • a proven track record


I want/need …

  • social confirmation/validation
  • relatability (empathy)
  • a tax deduction
  • spirituality/religiosity (secular)
  • to curry favor
  • a healthier world
  • to feel better


I feel …

  • guilt (understand my privileges)
  • obligation
  • I matter (a connection to meaning)
  • outrage
  • compassion (shared humanity)
  • it’s “by the grace of God” (feeling lucky)

2. How does Helen Keller Intl deliver its benefits?

  • Rigor (in terms of both scientific basis and program selectivity)
  • Community (local, sustainable ownership of programs)
  • Unseen (focus on people, places, problems that are forgotten or overlooked)

1. What is Helen Keller Intl?
HKI, co-founded by Helen Keller in 1915, implements pioneering programs to ensure vulnerable families’ right to eye health and essential nutrition in partnership with impoverished communities in the US and around the world.


  • Newly consolidated usage of the organizational name
  • New donor targeting priorities
  • New visual identity system
  • New tagline
  • New campaign slogan
  • New pitch materials
  • New organization-wide understanding of a brand’s power and utility
  • Website completely redone based on new brand style guide created by Tronvig and web project managed by the Helen Keller marketing team in consultation with Tronvig


Helen Keller Intl. is now engaging, keeping and attracting donors who are giving more—consistent with a growth strategy launched in 2021 that aligns with the new brand. From around $4M in unrestricted funds when starting the brand work, they are now raising over $6M in unrestricted funds a year.

They have seen enthusiastic organization-wide buy-in, organizational growth, and transformation from the ground up.

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