The Young Sikh Professionals Network (YSPN) is a not-for-profit organisation that provides networking, mentorship, and career and professional advice for young Sikh professionals. YSPN aims to create the conditions for young Sikhs to succeed and amplify their influence.
After completing a member engagement strategy project with Deloitte, YSPN approached us in mid-2016 to refresh their brand. The original YSPN brand was sufficient for the organisation’s launch, however, as it began to grow, the brand’s limits began to stretch. The brand lacked sufficient substance; different applications needed to be considered; and the member engagement strategy highlighted more specific requirements for the brand.
As is standard for a project like this, we started the YSPN brand project with an audit of their existing collateral: website, social media, communications and internal documents. Then, after extensive analysis of the strategic landscape, competitors and things that make YSPN unique, we landed on a single-minded idea that served as an analogy for the brand: Professional Sewa. Sewa is a concept strongly associated with Sikhism meaning ‘selfless service’, or helping others for nothing more than the spiritual fulfilment. YSPN is an organisation that practices and promotes Sewa in the professional sphere and as such, was a strong place to begin developing a new brand.
For the final brand concept we extended the idea of Professional Sewa visually to create a visual language we call ‘Greater Heights through Solidarity’. The idea behind this was that a community is always stronger when its members help each other rather than struggle to enact change separately – whatever that change may be. To support this concept, we created a custom typeface called Sewa Sans, designed to emulate the strength of the community and the individuals within it.
The rebrand was well received, with very strong feedback across a range of the brand assets developed. The brand launch video reached over 12,000 people, with high engagement rates (112 likes and 25 shares) and a flurry of positive commentary on social media and as delivered privately over email. In addition, the crowdfunding video produced by Nerve, which applied the new visual identity, reached nearly 29,000 people and was shared 49 times – helping to raise almost $10,000 in donations.
Overall, the rebrand helped YSPN hit its objectives of expressing its distinctive strengths, and create enough flexibility and engagement in the brand to expand the organisation. YSPN has since used the new brand identity to promote the organisation internationally, launching its first international chapter in Auckland and New Zealand, and build an even stronger network of young Sikh professionals. The flexibility of the brand system was instrumental in developing engagement across each chapter, making it easier for the organisation to expand.