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March 26, 2013 Transcript of #CommsChat on charities and rebrands

Last week, we had a fantastic lineup of guests on #CommsChat, including: Jan Peters, MD of USP Creative, who oversaw the rebrand of Alder Hey Children’s Charity; Mark Scott, head of brand at The Donkey Sanctuary and Paul Middlebrook, MD of The Allotment.

For more info on the rebrands, read about Oli the Oliphant and The Donkey Sanctuary.

The chat ranged from design functionality of a third sector rebrand to ROI to communications strategies for charities. Some highlights are below, but take a look at the full transcript, you won’t want to miss out on the insight our guests shared this week.

@AllotmentBrand I think the key point here is that you never need to question the passion or purpose of the third sector – they believe totally.
@USPCreative  It is key to get the supporters and stakeholders on board, clearly communicate the reasoning behind the rebrand
@USPCreative social media is one of the most cost effective and powerful ways for charities to spread the word.
@FleurieFM Authenticity/ trustworthiness/ consistency and Charisma = branding essentials
@AllotmentBrand Design, in all its manifestations, underpins the ability of rebrand to create and maintain belief for new and existing supporters
@USPCreative final thought; enduring brands are built from the heart and this is what makes them last
  1. final thought; enduring brands are built from the heart and this is what makes them last

  2. Thanks to everyone who tweeted tonight. A transcript will be up tomorrow morning, as always signing off, g’night all.

  3. Thank you for joining in and for all your comments- we have really enjoyed it.

  4. Thank you Brittany for inviting us. And thanks to all that have shared their wisdom with us tonight.

  5. RT : brands should be built on credible truths and this should be clearly communicated during the rebrand.

  6. : Thank you for all your comments. This has been my 1st and I’m glad I joined ” every Monday at 9pm

  7. brands should be built on credible truths and this should be clearly communicated during the rebrand.

  8. thank you, I hope everyone has found it of interest

  9. Thanks to all who took part. All the best and good night The Allotment

  10. Thank you for all your comments. This has been my 1st and I’m glad I joined

  11. Design, in all its manifestations, underpins the ability of rebrand to create and maintain belief for new and existing supporters

  12. …for their insight and comments. I, for one, have learned a lot tonight. Any final thoughts on rebrands in the third sector?

  13. Charities sitting on their hands because of a sense that inaction saves money is short term and doomed to failure.

  14. likewise our work for Alder Hey has impacted more than I could ever imagine

  15. Well our hour is drawing to a close. I want to sincerely thank and Paul and Mark who tweeted from

  16. We all want charities to prosper but if they are invisible or unclear about the purpose they have then they will decline 🙁

  17. The TDS rebrand will touch all parts of the business, what we do and how we do it, it’s not just a shiny new logo on our DM

  18. @CommsCharity its also a project our staff can buy into and really get involved with due to the charity’s work.

  19. rebrands make good financial sense. A consistent brand message ensures donors are certain about the charity’s purpose

  20. Sometimes charities forget they are service – we are looking at how we can streamline and improve the delivery of service

  21. Well said. RT : ROI is the million dollar question but the answer will only make you 10 bucks

  22. ROI is the million dollar question but the answer will only make you 10 bucks

  23. That segues into our last topic of the night: What impact does design have on the rebrand and prevalence of a non-profit?

  24. The TDS rebrand has not only increased our external visibility, optimism has in some instance replaced complacency internally

  25. The other benefit of designers looking at charities is they can look beyond the identity to improve service design.

  26. It also empowers staff and reaffirms the charity’s mission

  27. I can imagine! Everyone seems to be talking about the rebrand

  28. and opening up new fundraising channels, most specifically merchandise 2/2

  29. In answer to T4 – huge. The benefits to the Donkey Sanctuary are amazing. Empowering their own people and their donors to believe

  30. for it was definitely about raising the profile of the charity to a national level and opening 1/2

  31. You’d think so, but it’s surprising how great a response we (TDS) get when we don’t ask for anything

  32. and yet such basics aren’t gauged by so many brands!! missing a trick

  33. How does “authentic purpose ” match with “reason for brand is get people to do what you want”

  34. I think it’s time to take a stab at T4 (the hour is flying by!): What benefits can a rebrand have for a non-profit organisation?

  35. Rules don’t change. Sense of community and relevant timely content.

  36. MT : Brands based on an authentic purpose will always shine more than shallow logo. This is the starting point

  37. Authenticity/ trustworthiness/ consistency and Charisma = branding essentials

  38. RT Its key to include a call to action within social media messages and to engage w/ rather than talk at supporters

  39. yes, and social media should be considered a key communication channel and not an afterthought

  40. Brands based on an authentic purpose will always shine more than shallow logo. This is the starting point for all.

  41. Its key to include a call to action within social media messages and to engage with rather than talk at supporters

  42. The best brands are always built on credible truths

  43. When getting involved with any media channel the important thing is that your communications are brand consistent

  44. Totally believe in authenticity.. people trust other people before ‘corporate’ names

  45. How can charities put social media to better use? How do other sectors use social media to their benefit?

  46. Can anyone join this conversation ?

  47. yes- as with any work undertaken by a charity

  48. it depends on the reason, for Alder Hey there were a lot of reasons not least the need to step up fundraising.

  49. Social media v powerful for engaging with existing supporters. I was overwhelmed with offers for case studies from Facebook post

  50. Agree re. Social media – still very under used. Social media Is part of people’s lives as are charities

  51. If the rebrand is authentic, advocacy should provide the most effective PR

  52. certainly community fundraising strategies help, they allow the brand to develop by the people for the people

  53. RT : social media is one of the most cost effective and powerful ways for charities to spread the word.

  54. social media is one of the most cost effective and powerful ways for charities to spread the word.

  55. I think if charities PR their own rebrands the first question is how much i.e cost not value. Shame 🙁

  56. RT : by combining the reasons for rebrand with stories of the work the charity is doing.

  57. How do brand champions impact the immediate community and then the media/stakeholders/wider audience

  58. by combining the reasons for rebrand with stories of the work the charity is doing.

  59. Case studies key for media. Ideal for features but need to make sure org isn’t lost beneath great case study.

  60. Agreed ? MT : won a number of awards for the rebrand of the Donkey Sanctuary – great PR for all.

  61. these are the platforms where charities look to engage their advocates of the future, for most it’s in its infancy

  62. I agree, getting buy-in and creating brand champions is the best way forward

  63. How does an org. channel the support from individuals into broader media coverage? social media?

  64. As an example the allotment has won a number of awards for the rebrand of the Donkey Sanctuary – great PR for all.

  65. Design is huge. Poorly designed and ‘ugly’ websites perform worse. The same goes for e-mail, etc

  66. & let supporters echo support of charity. No one is better advocate for than the families they help.

  67. RT : It is key to get the supporters and stakeholders on board, clearly communicate the reasoning behind the rebrand

  68. I think Its better not to promote a rebrand but let others promote it for you. The key is not to sell but explain the change

  69. Charities usually have a lot more complex issues to deal with and less money

  70. MT : The Design Council has proven that every £ spent on design adds £20 back.

  71. It is key to get the supporters and stakeholders on board, clearly communicate the reasoning behind the rebrand 1/2

  72. I guess the most important bit for me is that the stress on emotions is lower.

  73. MT : The Design Council has proven that every £ spent on design adds £20 back.

  74. How well would you say the charity sector is utilising these ‘new’ channels?

  75. MT : charities exist in the real world and this is changing all the time. Charities ignore this at their peril

  76. I suppose it’s time for Topic 3, taking a turn toward : How can charities attract media coverage for a rebrand?

  77. Sorry Carol missed your earlier tweet. The Design Council has proven that every £ spent on design adds £20 back.

  78. Our corporate clients have the same issues, they are just communicated in a different way.

  79. Absolutely…a big idea to hold it all together. Also the channels have changed a lot since most charity brands were established

  80. RT : To continue – how many charities identities out there are more than 5 or 10 years old

  81. The point of brand is straightforward whether public or private sector, its about getting people to do what you want them do

  82. To continue – how many charities identities out there are more than 5 or 10 years old

  83. FleurieFM good point – charities exist in the real world and this is changing all the time. Charities ignore this at their peril

  84. Any corporate folk want to comment on if that’s different or the same in the private sector?

  85. yes definitely- its essential for any charity/marketing communication

  86. We used some standout case studies in the third sector that have clearly shown an ROI – MIND for instance

  87. So having a message and addressing it through the rebrand is key?

  88. With such £ squeeze at the moment I would have thought the proof without the pudding would be tricky?

  89. it is a difficult balance to strike but is key to success

  90. Can your current brand help to deliver the corporate objectives, if not you need to consider a rebrand

  91. Charities need to focus on their brand benefit. Its very competitive for charities. Animal charities receive approx £680m pa.

  92. As we said earlier, it’s about being able to communicate a clear message and show how & why funds are needed and spent

  93. Always a challenge between looking professional without looking as tho they are wasting money.

  94. Ditto this. LOTS of rebrands. LOTS of charities. Not as much money going around as before (sigh)

  95. With Mark’s support and drive we helped them to see the potential return from a rebrand

  96. The best results come when the audience fully understands where their money/donation will go & how they can make a difference

  97. I’d assume that’s true for many charities. And we’ve seen a LOT of 3rd sector rebrands this year.

  98. OK T2 – I think there is an economic need. Charities are suffereing from the squeeze. They need to stand out – be clear.

  99. With it was about being able to expand the charity’s fundraising efforts to a national level

  100. MT : many 3rd sector orgs get chunks of funding from public sector & other grants so stakeholder relations crucial

  101. Interesting, in what ways were you able to expand the brief?

  102. Clarity is key to any brand – if you do not know where you are heading there is not much chance of arriving there.

  103. Let’s segue into T2, which is all about the : What factors influence a charity’s decision to and process of rebranding?

  104. Don’t forget many 3rd sector orgs get chunks of funding from public sector & other grants so stakeholder relations crucial

  105. RT : Its all about the message, it has to be clear which in turn makes it easier to communicate with the audience.

  106. With need having to outstrip solution it is challenging to create an environment in which fundraising success can be celebrated

  107. It’s all about the message, it has to be clear which in turn makes it easier to communicate with the audience.

  108. Hi Fleurie – the brief was quite narrow when we started. We quickly realised their was a great opportunity to expand. , , , , , , , , , ,

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