Death with Dignity National Center

Brand Strategy & Mood Boards


Today's presentation is focused on setting a platform for a new brand direction for Death with Dignity National Center. 

Big Moments in History

1954: Joseph Fletcher published Morals and Medicine, predicting the coming controversy over the right to die

1958: Oxford law professor Glanville Williams published The Sanctity of Life and the Criminal Law, proposing that voluntary euthanasia be allowed for competent, terminally ill patients

1967: The first living will was written by attorney Louis Kutner and his arguments for it appear in the Indiana Law Journal

l968: Doctors at Harvard Medical School proposed redefining death to include brain death as well as heart-lung death

1970: Death with Dignity National Center established

1993: The Death with Dignity Political Fund began as Oregon Right to Die, a state political action committee, formed to help pass the Oregon Death with Dignity Act

1994/97: Oregon became first state with a Death with Dignity law

2001: Oregon Right to Die changed its name and tax status to become what is now the Death with Dignity Political Fund (a distinct and separate 501(c)4 entity)

2002: Dutch law allowing voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide took effect 

2002: Belgium passes similar law to the Dutch, allowing both voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide 

2005: Terry Schiavo (who spent over ten years in a persistent vegetative state) was finally allowed to die by removal of life support equipment after generating huge national and international controversy involving the courts, Congress and President Bush

2008/09: Washington became the second state with a Death with Dignity law

2011: How to Die in Oregon documentary released

2013: Vermont became the third state with a Death with Dignity law 

2014: Brittany Maynard, diagnosed with brain cancer, brought a heightened public awareness to the importance of having access to Death with Dignity laws (she moved from CA to OR specifically for this reason) before she died


Brand Goals

  • Enact 10 Death with Dignity laws in the U.S. over the next 10 years

  • Establish Death with Dignity as a culturally accepted topic

  • Build brand recognition and support for DDNC

  • Create an “advocacy army”

  • Position DDNC as a leading informational resource

  • Foster relationships with partner organizations

Communication Opportunities

  • Take a positive approach that emphasizes empowerment and quality of life

  • Steer away from using the word "choice" (per pro-choice/pro-life debate and Compassion & Choices) in favor of words like "decision" and "option" and "right"

  • Highlight people for the amazing lives they've lived (not just for the way they opt to die)

  • Utilize storytelling more to foster a personal connection to the issue

  • Interview family members and friends (of those who have used the law) about their experience

  • Update/create simple communication tools for educational purposes (press kit, fact sheet, etc.)


Brand Personality

  • Trustworthy

  • Respectful

  • Brave

  • Intelligent

  • Thoughtful

  • Committed

  • Forward-looking

  • Ground-breaking

  • Pragmatic

  • Experienced


Brand Voice

  • Personal

  • Empathetic

  • Supportive

  • Strong

  • Clear

  • Confident

  • Honest

  • Engaged


The Importance of Vision Statements


What is a vision statement? 

An aspirational explanation of a desired optimal state (what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish at the highest level).


Why is a vision statement important? 

It helps people understand why the organization exists and why they should care about it. 


What's the marker of an excellent vision statement?

It is written succinctly in an inspirational manner that makes it easy for people to remember and repeat it at any given time.


Vision Statement

Create a world where all terminally ill adults are personally and legally empowered to explore an expanded range of end-of-life options and decide for themselves if they wish to control the timing and circumstances of their deaths.


THE IMPORTANCE of mission statementS


What is a mission statement?

It's an articulation of how an organization will work towards its vision.


Why is a mission statement important?

It helps guide the organization and bring focus to the present moment.


What is the marker of an excellent mission statement?

A mission statement clearly explains who/what the organization serves and how it does so.


Old Mission Statement

The mission of the Death with Dignity National Center is to promote Death with Dignity laws based on our model legislation, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, both to provide an option for dying individuals and to stimulate nationwide improvements in end-of-life care. 


Goals for a New Mission

  • Make the mission sound more approachable and easier to understand
  • Tie in to the vision statement but zoom in on the more immediate focus of the organization
  • Answer the what/who/how


New Mission statement

Our mission is to help establish Death with Dignity laws in every U.S. state, promote end-of-life options as an important and culturally accepted topic, and foster increased support for giving terminally ill adults the right to decide when and how they end their lives.


Mood Boards


Direction 1: 

Brand Personality Characteristics: Ground-breaking & Thoughtful

Direction 2: 

Brand Personality Characteristics: Intelligent, Trustworthy & Respectful

Direction 3:

Brand Personality Characteristics: Committed & Pragmatic