VFW Post-Level Branding: Visual and Name

By Charles M. Pickett
While there are a number of concurrent goals and tasks in forming a new VFW post (or any nonprofit), one early, and perhaps easy task is to consider brand management.

The national VFW has a very recognizable brand identity (Cross of Malta). Moreover, they have made EPS and JPEG versions of their brand mark available to the membership. However, the branding can’t be used on for-sale items and any commercial use must be approved. Additionally, and reasonably, the “logo” must not be deconstructed into component parts. The VFW may have one, but I couldn’t find a brand identity manual, a detailed PDF booklet that dictates the proper use of a logo and establishes visual identity (such as colors). Blue Cross/Blue Shield has a great example online that discusses CMYK and PANTONE values.

The logo is a raster image and it looks like a photo of the cross of malta. I wonder if it is hanging in the lobby at national or if there is an interesting history behind the actual artifact photographed.

For a post, perhaps the biggest question may be what is the name of the post? For a forming post, that question is even murkier as post numbers are not assigned until after the post charter application is approved.

For example, VFW New Haven is still forming. It has no charter and, if you think about it, it is pretentious to call it VFW New Haven before it is an actual post. But if you want to secure domain names, social media names, and email addresses, this has to be done at the front of the process.

VFWNewHaven, thankfully was widely available, so the naming convention and branding was consistent (Facebook.com/VFWNewHaven; vfwnewhaven@gmail.com; Twitter.com/VFWNewHaven; www.vfwnewhaven.org). This name was put on the letterhead, on press releases, on social media, business cards, used for the bank account, for the post office box, etc.

Now, someday the post will have a number and may be named after a local deceased veteran. However, VFW New Haven says it all (organization, location).

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