Brand architecture

Master brand strategy


The AO is strong: as a community, as an organization, and as a brand. To support this and make communications more effective, the AO has adopted a strong brand architechture strategy: the AO as a master brand.

The AO master brand is the overarching brand that serves as the main anchoring point under which all services or products are based. A master brand strategy is one of the key performance drivers in brand strategy. It shall link all activities, initiatives, and offerings with AO’s brand promise and the brand values.

Master brand logo


The new AO logo is the essential visual expression of the AO mission and its brand values.

The AO logo exemplifies the power of our global community, our open-mindedness, and connectivity. It responds to the next generation of surgeons and their needs in education, networking, and research.


The AO brand architecture defines the brand categories the AO uses, the relationship between sub-brands and the AO master brand, and the allocation of entities and services to these categories.

AO brand architecture categories are clearly defined, including about how they relate to the master brand.

Master brand

  • Symbolizes everything the AO (as a brand) stands for and all benefits it provides.
  • Is visually represented by the AO logo.

Personalized master brand

  • myAO is the personalized digital expression of the AO master brand.
  • The myAO platform is AOs’ signature master brand offering.

Power brand

  • Presenting entities that build and fuel the relationship with the AO brand (clinical divisions, units, and institutes).
  • IIs visually represented by the power brand logo extension which appears under the AO logo. For clinical divisions and units, the name is in capital letters. For institutes, the names use title case.

Power brand regions and countries

  • Used by entities that represent the power brands in defined regions or countries.
  • Differentiation by region or countries and adding a descriptor is reserved for power brands only.
  • Power brand regional or country-wide differentiation is visually represented by the power brand logo extension supplemented by a descriptor in lighter title case. (Suisse Int’l regular).

Flagship brand

  • Presenting entities that contribute to the strength of the AO brand (limited to five key offerings).
  • Is visually represented by the flagship brand logo extension which combines the AO logo extension with the name of the flagship brand written in capital letters to the right of the AO logo.

Foundation brand

  • Presenting the organization that founded and owns the AO. It is a unique category and reserved exclusively for the AO Foundation.
  • Is visually represented by the foundation brand logo extension which combines the AO logo with the AO Foundation name written in capital letters to the right of the AO logo.

Endorsement label

  • Representing a mark of quality, presitge evoked by an endorsement of the AO brand.
  • The design of an endorsement label needs to comply with the relevant guidelines.


A set of simple principles define the connection between the master brand and the brand categories.

Master brand

The master brand exists in only one version. It represents the entire AO. It is used in situations where no flagship or master brand stands behind the branded item or in relation to business and community pillars.

Power brands

Only the clinical divisions and the institutes have the right to use the AO logo in a brand-like way.

Flagship brands

The right to use the master brand as an brand-like extension of a name is limited to a maximum of five services, offerings or entities. They are approved by the AO Foundation Board.

Foundation brand

It represents the organization that founded and owns the AO. It is a unique category and reserved exclusively for the AO Foundation.

Dual branding
and co-branding logic

If the AO brand appears in connection with other organizations (ie, DPS) or if two AO entities appear together (ie, AO Trauma and AO Recon), a set of principles need to be applied in order to strengthen and protect the AO master brand.

For co-branding examples please consult

chapter 2: Basic elements → Logo → Dual branding and co-branding

1. Dual branding

Example: Two or more entities stand behind an offering or activity (ie, AO Trauma and AO Recon co-host a course).


Both brands apply the principle of a business pillar.

The AO master brand is the only logo used.


Names in normal type plus AO master brand or flagship brand logo.

1. Brands of same category:
alphabetical order

2. Brand of different categories: hierarchical order

2. Co-branding

Example: An AO entity decides to provide a service or sponsor an intiative or event together with an external organization.


AO leads the initiative

AO shares leadership of the initiative

AO joins the initiative


AO logo appears dominantly, additional endorsement “supported by AO” wanted

AO logo appears at least in the same size as the partner logo

AO master brand logo is part of the logo overview display showing the logos of all supporters

Brand architecture

Acronyms and established terms


The AO name is an acronym itself. And like many other organizations, we use acronyms. Therefore, the AO needs to be strengthened by applying simple rules if it is to be used as part of an acronym.

We always put a space between the AO and the descriptor
(eg, AO Spine, AO TC, AO Davos Courses).

Brand management

Basic principles


To make the AO master brand as strong and effective as possible, we have established a brand management process to review brand-related decisions that will need to be taken in the future.

This process will be led by the Communications & Events department and covers all possible questions or issues related to the AO brand portfolio and architecture. This process is binding for all AO entities and employees, officers, and faculty. It is equally binding for external vendors where they are involved in strategic or design work on the AO brand.

Tone of voice

Key messages of the AO brand


Transforming Surgery— Changing Lives
This is the key message connecting everything we do, think, and say.

The AO tone of voice reflects the expertise and professionalism of AO people, communicating information in a spirit of camaraderie.

Inspiring, diverse, and inclusive, the AO community works together to enhance their surgical skills and advance the treatment of trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

Tone of voice

Communication goals


The AO promotes excellence through high-quality education, innovation, and research, and connects with a global network using streamlined, straightforward communications that are accessible to all.

AO communications should always:
– reflect AO values
– recognize the diversity of the AO community
– respond to the needs of the AO community
– represent AO activities as a whole

Tone of voice

Guiding principles


AO branded communications represent the best of the AO. They shall be characterized by a simple and short set of guiding principles.

AO communications
– adhere to the AO’s core values
– can be adapted for each audience
– are responsive to regional needs
– are scalable to ensure they can be accessed in large pieces and small sections depending on audience
– need and location
– relay information in a way that is understandable to all


Access AO Foundation brand assets.