Case Studies

Reframing Brand Identity for Nonprofits

Updating Marketing Message for San Juan Diego Institute 

San Juan Diego Institute (SJDI) is a Phoenix-based NPO dedicated to helping small businesses and other nonprofits grow and sustain their missions. To sustain their own mission, expand their market share, and attract potential clients, they asked Mustard & Moxie to revamp their branding and messaging. Mustard & Moxie started this project with a deep dive into SJDI’s brand identity. From there, SDJI and Mustard & Moxie worked together to identify a consistent and compelling way to express SJDI’s value proposition. Finally, Mustard & Moxie ensured that the new messaging framework was interwoven throughout web copy on

A New Approach to Nonprofit Branding

Mustard & Moxie approaches brand development and messaging for nonprofit clients through the lens of the most effective marketing strategies employed by corporations. With this in mind, client education and collaboration is essential to developing a brand strategy that endures beyond the initial project term and can be implemented and iterated upon within the organization internally, for years to come. This system not only remains organizationally sustainable after the project is complete, it also cultivates a deepened understanding of target segments' pain points and allows for more refined tailoring of marketing.

Ryan Hanning of SJDI says that in comparison to working with other agencies or consultants in the past, working with Mustard & Moxie was refreshingly non-prescriptive. “The work was very customized to our particular needs. [Mustard & Moxie founder] Anna took the time to understand what we do and why it differentiates us in the workspace and help us identify how potential clients see our work.”

Customized Brand and Value Statement

Mustard & Moxie was brought on to manage a rebrand and web copy update for SDJI to address the primary messaging concerns of the nonprofit. 

SDJI’s website needed greater specificity and clarity around their services and audiences. SJDI looked to Mustard & Moxie for help “identifying a consistent way of explaining our value proposition and creating a shared lexicon to speak about our work and approach,” Hanning explained.

The organization required a messaging overhaul that spoke to SJDI’s strengths and mission and addressed the pain points of clients as well as clients’ funders. The project centered around refurbishing a digital presence that did not fully capture the scope of SJDI’s mission, expertise, and services with one that was based upon SJDI’s core values and target audiences.

“We work with nonprofits at critical inflection points, either as a result of crises or expected growth. We were at a point of growth where it was time for Mustard & Moxie to give us a taste of our own medicine, so to speak.” Hanning described the process: “Asking those hard questions, testing assumptions, and helping us create a brand that speaks to our value without compromising or watering down our position. This work was invaluable as we updated our website.”

Using the story of San Juan Diego Institute — its history, mission, people, and passion — Mustard & Moxie built a brand identity and created a value statement that aligns with both their new marketing personas  and the many organizations SJDI have helped throughout their 20+ years of service. 

“Anna asked tough questions. She took time to make sure that she understood what we do, and the type of clients we serve and what their needs might be,” Hanning remarked.

Once established, the brand identity and value statement were translated into search-engine-optimized web copy for an update of that more closely aligned with the passion, purpose, and people that comprise SJDI.

Organizational Education

Mustard & Moxie also held a day-long, in-person, branding workshop with SJDI staff in Phoenix. Bringing multiple contributors into the fold on brand repositioning facilitated longevity and flexibility to make the branding update effective for the organization. It also helped ensure that the new messaging was clear and able to be quickly implemented in all communications both within and outside of SJDI. 

Hanning shared that prior to working with Mustard & Moxie, for those inside SJDI, “Most of us assumed that our clients understand their needs and how we fit it, but in reality often we have to make this connection for them. With Mustard & Moxie, we were able to create some clear language that was more client-focused. We are much more zeroed in on how we describe our work, and how we use language.”

With the new messaging launched, Hanning says SJDI has “incorporated more accurate language about what we do and what sets us apart from other firms,” making them better positioned to reach potential clients with a digital presence that’s representative of the impact, passion, and experience they offer. 

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