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United Against Human Trafficking

See how Studio Brand Collective rebuilt this already established brand to gain both local and national recognition, while also amplifying their message.


United Against Human Trafficking (UAHT), formerly known as Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition is a dedicated alliance of Houston-area nonprofits, faith-based organizations, government agencies/entities and others whose mission is to prevent and confront modern-day slavery. The confrontation is facilitated through the education of the public, training professionals and empowering the community to take action for the purpose of identifying, rescuing and restoring trafficking victims to freedom. 

The group was established in 2005 and acquired 501(c)3 status in the state of Texas in December, 2007.  In 2013, Houston Rescue and Restore began to develop the 2020 Vision, which is to educate citizens about Human Trafficking by 2020 and begin a global initiative for freedom from slavery.  In September of 2013, Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition began working with Studio Brand Collective.  In March 2014 they began to officially adopt the name United Against Human Trafficking. For the sake of clarity in this case report, we will only refer to the client as United Against Human Trafficking. 

United Against Human Trafficking focused on its mission of educating and increasing the awareness surrounding human trafficking, it was essential that the organization began thinking long-term and aligned its brand with its 2020 vision.  The long-term goal of dramatically reducing the number of human trafficking cases and significantly increasing the appropriate frontline responses meant the client needed to implement a broader goal.


Once Studio Brand Collective began the audit of United Against Human Trafficking’s brand it became apparent the small brand had grown into a larger entity, yet still lacked relevance within the city of Houston and even more so globally.  There was deficiency in consistent communication with its multilingual constituents and had only one month dedicated to awareness.  In our outreach research, Studio Brand Collective also discovered United Against Human Trafficking’s brand logo lacked recognition and did not convey the basic concepts of their mission. Furthermore, United Against Human Trafficking had to compete with over 500 other nonprofits in Houston, seven of which are related to human trafficking.


In order to better understand the goal, we pulled together the global industry of human trafficking analytics from several top research agencies, including: United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Children’s Rights and Emergency Relief Organization. The research revealed the global industry is the 2nd largest criminal industry in the world and there have been 1.5 million trafficking cases found in the US and Europe. Currently it is estimated there are 21 million slaves in the world in which 45% are male and 55% female, from those percentages 25% are children. This means, 5.25 million children are trafficked globally a year.  Even more shockingly, it seems the average age of a child slave victim is fourteen and victims have been rescued as young as nine years old.


The total budget of the rebranding and marketing of United Against Human Trafficking was $150,000; however, it is important to note this was mostly accomplished through gaining corporate and local partners who would donate services, marketing mediums and capital. The following is the timeline in which the strategy was executed.


Phase "Ground Zero":

1) Industry Audit

2) Market Analysis: Client segmentation, current nonprofit placement with strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and predicted nonprofit placement forecast


Phase One:

  1. Brand Name Change

  2. Development of brand elements (colors and fonts).

  3. Design and development of logo and any brand marks/symbols

  4. Design of business stationery (business cards, letterheads, envelopes)


Phase Two:

  1. Social media design for platforms (banners, headers, and profile pictures).

  2. Marketing collateral (Coffee table book highlighting the artwork, organizational brochures).

  3. Advertisement Series Campaign, which consistently conveyed the message and brand of United Against Human Trafficking in multilingual.


Phase Three:

  1. Giving Campaign collaterals (donation forms, envelopes, and supporting donation documents)

  2. Email marketing newsletter template that is consistent with the brand direction

  3. Strategically located billboard placement, mall sign placement, airline shuttle bus placement and cab back placement.


Phase Four:

  1. Website design, which gives a very clear understanding of who the client is and the cause they serve.   The design includes a unique captivating design, clear navigation layout, detail site map, the approved effective color scheme and a very concise call to action.

  2. Creation of a branded “Human Trafficking Awareness Month.”  During this phase Studio Brand Collective designed and developed a consistent look and feel for Human Trafficking Awareness Month that will be easily identified and recognized annually (logo treatment, social media updates, website banners, event history and story captured through interactive media and printed materials.


Phase Five:

Website development includes the aesthetics from the design process and incorporates: a user friendly content management system for easy functionality, intuitive navigation, usability, short loading times, multi-browser compatibility, SEO-friendly coding and a mobile responsive site.


The goals and objectives were based upon the initial vision, which were:


  1. A commitment to leading the way as brokers of change in the anti-human trafficking movement.

  2. Collaborating with a diverse group of organizations in order to be more effective and build community capacity. The pioneering spirit, by developing ground- breaking, innovative means of tackling the issue of human trafficking. 

  3. Human dignity and basic human rights for all individuals.


In doing this, the most effective movement for their small organization and small budget was educating those who were most likely to interact with the victims of human trafficking.  Educating these officials would mean they were readily able to identify, respond and seek help for the victims. Without an educated audience, it would be impossible for the 2020 vision to be executed. Therefore, United Against Human Trafficking’s goal is to empower individuals to take responsibility for the role they play in their own community, and mobilizing those individuals to work together


Re-launching the brand was the best option to powerfully reposition the organization and this first consisted of a brand name search.  After providing five options preapproved by the nonprofit’s board to a small focus group, Studio Brand Collective’s research found one of the options, United Against Human Trafficking, clearly articulated the brand to the multilingual audience as well as the large partnership base associated with the fight against Human Trafficking.  Then, after consulting with a color psychologist, we found the three base colors which best expressed the organization’s values were: Patriotic Blue - representing liberty, Flam “Red”– representing activism, and Lemon Shine – representing hope.


Simultaneously, while completing the brand name research, Studio Brand Collective was also developing a strategic marketing and communication plan for the organization, which would expand their outreach capacity; increase public awareness of the issue of human trafficking and victim identification. 


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