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American Cancer Society Unveils Rebrand, Mission Statement
American Cancer Society Unveils Rebrand, Mission Statement

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has debuted a new brand. The Atlanta-based nonprofit has replaced its vision statement of “A world without cancer” with “To end cancer as we know it, for everyone.” The rebrand also incorporates a new logo, mission statement and organization-wide focus.

The organization also replaced its mission statement, which focused on saving lives, celebrating lives and leading the fight for a world without cancer. The new mission proposes “To improve the lives of people with cancer and their families through advocacy, research, and patient support, and insuring everyone has an opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer.”

Part of the rebrand stems from the fact that there are more than 200 maladies that fall under the cancer heading, according to ACS Chief Marketing Officer Kymm Martinez. “The notion of being able to go all the way to a cure felt not as authentic as ending cancer as we know it, for everyone,” Martinez told The NonProfit Times. “You might not be able to be cured, but you can have a very high quality of life and live with it.”

The new vision statement echoes language from the Biden Administration. In February 2022, the Biden White House re-upped a 2016 “Cancer Moonshot” initiative launched when President Biden was vice president. The February action included a newly-stated goal of reducing the death rate from cancer by at least 50% during the next 25 years, and improving the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer.

For the ACS, the key phrase from Biden’s statement was “We can make real progress toward ending cancer as we know it.” In the ACS’s new mission, the organization adds a call to action while echoing Biden’s statement.

“Cancer does not discriminate on the basis of age, race or gender,” Martinez said. “There are some groups at higher risks with different outcomes. That is why we added ‘for everyone’.”

The theme of greater inclusivity is also reflected in the organization’s new tagline, “Every Cancer, Every Life” which replaced “Hope, Progress and Answers.”

Together, these efforts represent an acknowledgement that the demographics surrounding cancer are changing. “We wanted to be relevant to younger and multicultural consumers,” Martinez said. “We wanted to make sure they felt ACS was for them, not their grandparents.”

The adjusted mission is the articulation of “how we do what we do,” Martinez said. “We wanted to get everyone on same page. If you asked different people internally you would have gotten different answers. Part of this [rebranding] was clarifying the language we should be using so we are not adding to confusion.”

The rebrand also include a new logo. The ACS’s previous logo, a trapezoid configuration with white lettering against a blue background, is now a white rectangle which featured larger blue letters. The previous logo would often get lost amid the branding for ACS events such as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer or Relay for Life, according to Martinez. The new logo was designed to pop against a variety of backgrounds, and would make sure the parent organization’s branding did not fade into the background.

The initiative for the rebrand started in 2021, when Karen E. Knudsen joined the organization as CEO. Work on the rebrand took off in earnest toward the end of 2021. When Martinez joined in March 2022, organization leaders had just started working on position statements that would support it. The rebranding was done in conjunction with agency Havas New York.

“I was clear with Havas – we have an important history and legacy,” Martinez said. “We were not interested in change for the sake of change. We wanted to affirm that we are good stewards of donor dollars. We had to be confident that the steps we were taking were truly steps forward.”

ACS is taking further steps to ensure consistency of its new branding. The organization has introduced a one-page pocket guide “cheat sheet” that ensures employees, brand ambassadors and volunteers will be able to articulate the new mission, vision, elevator pitch and key impact statements. The guide is available in English and Spanish.