The U.S. government's WIC program (officially known as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) is one of the government's most well-known and far-reaching projects, providing more than eight million mothers and children with food and support.
However, state and local WIC agencies have their own brand messages and logos, creating confusion and disconnection among potential participants.
Now, the National WIC Association and its agency Sullivan are introducing a comprehensive visual identity campaign - from logo to campaign site - to unify the look of its state-level organizations and raise national awareness.
"Given the way the WIC organization is structured, state-level groups aren’t obligated to adopt the new identity," says Nicole Ferry, partner, executive director, Sullivan. "But when we think of the families we are trying to engage, and the fact that families are more transient than ever, a consistent identity across the regional agencies will help those families recognize WIC as a go-to resource and build relationships with a unified WIC brand. Our team was on the hook to create something that would be exciting enough that all WIC agencies across the country would want to adopt the new standardized identity. I think the final result will do that."
The rollout required extensive research and focus groups. The woman-led Sullivan team interviewed staff and mothers in the WIC program as well as held in-person sessions, and surveyed stakeholders online.
"We knew from our interviews that moms didn’t want someone judging them, or telling them what to do," says Sullivan Creative Director Meg Beckum. "So in our messaging, moms are the heroes—and WIC is there to back them up with support and resources."
The new campaign is designed to convey WIC’s message about being there for moms at each step of their journey. The imagery is meant to say that WIC listens when they talk, understands what they need, and offers the advice and expertise acquired from decades of helping moms before. WIC is mom's trusted friend, her knowledgeable guide and her caring support community.
"The logo is the heart of the visual system. Its custom letterforms are active and fluid, signifying WIC’s continuous, personalized support at every step of a mom’s journey," says Beckum. "It is complemented by a bright, optimistic color palette, bold typography, and straightforward iconography. We selected photography that feels genuine and candid, showing a realistic depiction of modern motherhood. The images capture those real mom moments—the highs (giggles and smiles) and the lows (spit-up and tears)."
Marketing materials will expand the WIC's core message beyond food and nutrition to tell moms that they will support them across all matters and needs. The three key words used in branding are optimistic, strong, and open.
"All of our strategy and creative concepts focused a little more on empowering moms since we wanted to be sure to appeal to the core user of WIC services: women," says Ferry. "WIC provides resources and services during pregnancy and postpartum, so it was necessary that our concept appealed to women. But, since WIC also helps children up until the age of 5, we had to make sure that our creative concept was flexible enough to appeal to dads, grandparents, and other caregivers. In the communications we created, we were sure to develop executions that appealed to those audiences, too."
The new branding effort will be supported by a media campaign rolling out later this year, which will have a robust digital component supplemented by placements in a variety of parenting magazines, and out-of-home settings.
"The new identity will make it easy for moms and their families to recognize WIC wherever they are in the nation and have greater confidence in the quality services WIC provides," says Douglas Greenaway, president/CEO, National WIC Association.