Case study: Your logo can be your rally cry
But first, I’m going to get personal and say something on which I believe we can all agree.
“Sucks” is a word I fuss at my kids for saying, so I don’t type that lightly. But there’s really no other word to use here. Cancer is a low-down dirty dog of a disease that can silently creep into your life and rip it to shreds like the proverbial homework.
I know what you’re thinking. Geez, Julie, dramatic much? Maybe a little. But this disease, it’s a force to be reckoned with — an estimated 1,735,350 new cases will be diagnosed in the United States this year.
My father-in-law is one of them.
Now maybe you understand my dramatic response. Earlier this year, doctors delivered some crushing news to my husband’s family — Wid was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer, and it had spread. The prognosis was not good.
But that was not going to stop my father-in-law from giving modern medicine every chance possible to put the low-down dirty dog to sleep. Upon the recommendation of his friend and family doctor, who had won his own fight with cancer, Wid headed to Houston, Texas, to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for treatment. He’s been undergoing aggressive immunotherapy for three months.
When I wrote this blog post last week, Wid was in a hotel room in Houston adjacent to the cancer center, taking quarter-mile walks down hallways and trying to build his strength with the assistance of his family. I assume it was on one of these walks that my husband encountered one of the most powerful brands I’ve seen in a while.
Ladies and gentlemen: Exhibit A.
“I like their thinking here,” my husband typed in a text to me, accompanied by photos he took of the logo on paper and mounted on a wall somewhere on the hospital’s campus.
Yeah, me too. A lot. (He knew I would agree. ?)
There are so many good things to say about this brand:
It’s simple, yet powerful.
Less is definitely more with this logo. A classic, timeless font combined with the red strikethrough makes the message exceptionally clear. The strikethrough is a long-running MD Anderson campaign in which survivors tell their cancer stories and draw a red line through their cancer type to mark their triumph over the disease. “The red cancer strikethrough has proven to be one of the most powerful symbols of hope and inspiration to patients and their families, and many have shared stories of how they dreamed of the day when they would star in an MD Anderson ad and strike out their disease with a red line for the world to see,” said John Mendelsohn, M.D., former president of MD Anderson.
It gives you all the feels. Every single one.
Anyone who has been affected by this disease in some way just wants to see it scratched from humanity. Gone. Bye, Felicia. Seeing that red line evokes an emotional response from the audience that’s tough to describe. All I could think when seeing it was, YES, preach! And that, friends, is what good brands do.
That tagline, though.
I know I’m a sucker for a play on words, but this one’s just so good. Make Cancer History — MD Anderson doctors are spending countless hours and resources to do something that so far no one else has been able to do (find a cure). Make Cancer History — MD Anderson doctors are also spending countless hours and resources to make cancer a thing of the past. And for both of those things, we (cancer survivors and families and friends and I bet even Joe Schmo on the street) are eternally grateful.
Not every business or organization has a story to communicate that is as emotionally driven as MD Anderson’s. But I’ll argue every business has a story with which people can identify. You just have to find it and tell it the right way. MD Anderson is an excellent example of how.
As for my father-in-law and his story? He’s working hard on that red strikethrough. After weeks of his body revolting from treatment, his oncologist tells him his cancer has significantly shrunk. No more treatments are needed in the near future, and further remission is expected. He is now recovering at home and we are elated.
Go find your story. Tell it. Celebrate it.
We sure are.
Let’s Make Cancer History, friends. There are a number of places you can donate to help the cause. Simply Google “cancer organizations” and choose one that speaks to you. They’re all fighting the good fight.