Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR) launches its new branding this week in celebration of the nonprofit organization’s 15th anniversary. COR’s current leadership shared the group’s new mission and vision statements and brand elements in webinars with key stakeholders Monday and Tuesday, and will unveil the new brand to its general membership and the wider public at a celebratory public gathering at Market on Main this evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Formed in 2005 through a collaborative partnership between the City of Columbia and a group of passionate young leaders, COR has always worked to help young professionals more fully engage with the city’s social, civic, and professional fabric. COR hosts networking and social events throughout the year, and marshals its membership to support various community service efforts throughout the Midlands. Time for Art, the organization’s annual charity auction event, offers artwork in exchange for the purchaser’s volunteer service hours. This particular initiative has catalyzed more than 1,100 volunteer service hours — the equivalent of $25,000 — in support of the Midlands arts, nonprofit, and business communities.
“Fifteen years is a major milestone for any organization, and an appropriate time to reflect on how it has achieved its goals thus far and how it should seek to improve in the future,” said Chase Heatherly, COR’s current Chairperson. “With the launch of our talent retention program Crash Course Columbia and the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, it made sense for COR to undertake a really introspective, comprehensive rebranding process to help us hone in on what our organization is truly about 15 years after its founding.”
COR’s rebranding process began with a series of incisive conversations about who it is intended to engage and what it aims to provide them. Through these focus groups, COR determined that it needed to clarify messaging about its purpose, function, and utility to the community. New messaging speaks more directly to students, young professionals, established professionals, and leaders in the business community about how COR can help them achieve their respective goals. A guiding principle of COR’s rebranding effort is the group’s recommitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA). COR recognizes that the future success of the organization and the Columbia region depend on the ever-growing diversity of the region’s constituencies and the intentional inclusiveness of COR’s operations.
Rewriting COR’s mission and vision statements inspired a reimagining of its visual brand identity. Local graphic designer Cait Maloney helped COR craft new brand elements that incorporate the group’s historic brand colors but more accurately communicate its renewed focus on inclusion. COR’s previous brand elements were inspired around the three pillars of its mission: Lead, Serve, and Connect. The group’s old logo features three orange, gray, and green pointed pillars bisected by a blue curve, which make abstract visual reference to the city skyline and the Congaree River. The new logo features representational illustration of specific city landmarks and the river to more explicitly reference COR’s geographic focus. Beams of the sunrise behind the skyline suggest COR’s future-focused mission and vision. The new brand elements use the group’s signature brand colors in bolder shades, referencing the organization’s recommitment to creating a stronger, more vibrant community through the connection of diverse networks of people.
Upcoming COR Events:
To round out the calendar year, COR will host a celebratory Activate event in the courtyard at Market on Main the evening of Wednesday, November 18th. COR will also be collecting donations in support of Families Helping Families, and will host a wrapping party to package donations on December 2nd from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at Za’s on Devine Street.
COR is open to professionals and students of all ages, ethnicities, gender identities, and abilities who want to connect more deeply with the Greater Columbia community. For more information about the organization and to get connected, please visit ourcor.org
About Columbia Opportunity Resource
Columbia Opportunity Resource fosters local pride and boosts talent retention by connecting talented professionals in the greater Columbia region through engaging opportunities, insider experiences and diverse networks. For more information, please visit www.ourcor.org.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColumbiaOpportunityResource/ |Instagram: @ourcor