Colle McVoy Tapped to Lead Star Tribune Rebrand

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2024 February 29

A 157-year-old organization is making significant investments to become a news outlet for all of Minnesota amid a make-or-break moment for media.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Colle McVoy as the Star Tribune embarks on branding work that is foundational to the future of our organization,” said Steve Grove, publisher and CEO of the Star Tribune. “Our local market is full of exceptional creative talent. The breadth and quality of Colle McVoy’s craft is only matched by their love for Minnesota. That’s what made them a perfect partner for this initiative.”

“Minnesota is our origin story, and we’re fiercely proud of our heritage. This initiative with the Star Tribune is about legacy — cementing the value of local journalism in our community for generations to come,” said Colle McVoy CEO Christine Fruechte, who has served as board chair and member of the Star Tribune’s Board of Directors for the last five years.

The firm’s remit is a complete reimagining of the Star Tribune’s tone of voice and how it visually represents itself. Even the name of the media outlet is up for discussion, as the 157-year-old institution seeks increased relevance with a statewide audience.

Colle McVoy’s boutique design firm, 10 Thousand Design, will also steward the redesign.

According to Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, there are roughly 6,000 newspapers left in America, down from 8,891 in 2005. About half of all U.S. counties rely on a single remaining news source — and 6.4% of counties have no local outlets.

This is the first brand refresh for the publication since 2014, which is targeted to launch in Q4 of this year.

“We see massive opportunities to attract and retain new audiences throughout and beyond this next election cycle as people are more tuned in to what’s happening in media,” added Star Tribune VP of communication and brand marketing Chris Iles. “This rebrand signals significant investments to grow for our current and future readers in an era when news media is shrinking.”

Colle McVoy is joined by fellow Stagwell network agency Code and Theory, which is handling a complementary digital product redesign.

“To make this happen and get the results we’re looking for, we wanted partners who can finish each other’s sentences. We get that in having two agencies under the Stagwell umbrella working in lockstep,” noted Iles.

The refresh is part of a larger transformation at the Star Tribune, which is exploring novel content formats, in-person events and the role of AI in operations and reporting.

“Local media has a profound role to play in combating trends of people feeling disconnected and the dwindling of third spaces,” added Iles. “We can be the great convener bringing people together to have the crucial conversations to push society forward.”

The Star Tribune is the Upper Midwest’s largest news organization, with audience numbers consistently in the top five in the country among regional and national peers. Its journalistic excellence is reflected in its seven Pulitzer Prizes and hundreds of other accolades.

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