I have been asked to share with you my top tips on making a brand work for communications and fund-raising. Clearly to be effective a charity brand needs to work for communications and fund-raising and I will cover that in the presentation. But it needs to work for all the other parts of the organisation as well. So it’s our job, as brand marketers, to reconcile all the competing priorities and expectations of supporters, users, colleagues and stakeholders across our organisations to come up with a brand that works for everyone.At DUK we have just been through a re-brand, so I’m going to share with you how we went about it , our top tips and any pitfalls to avoid!
1 February was a momentous day for everyone at Diabetes UK. As I approached our office I could hardly bear to look to see if the shiny new blue sign had gone up. When we left at 9 o’clock the night before, we were still waiting for delivery – talk about taking it to the wire! Happily, the new sign was in place and in the office things had turned from pink to blue. But our re-brand was about much more than a new logo or a different colour, it was based on business need and robust evidence.
Barbara Young joined the charity as Chief Executive in September 2010 and laid down an ambitious 5 year strategy to re-position the charity. This aims to change the way that DUK is perceived by our key audiences: to give us greater political leverage to make us more attractive to donors and fundraisers to extend our reach with effective messages on the scale and seriousness of all types of diabetes.Barbara also instigated a brand review. The review included extensive research and consultation across all of our audiences and concluded that the current brand – the humming bird you see here – was not fit for purpose. She identified the need to have a more assertive brand that would facilitate the transformation programme that the charity had embarked on. So Top Tip 1 = Position the brand as a key tool in your business strategy and be very clear about the reasons for changing. Also get senior level buy in and support. I’ll come on to talk about brand ambassadors. Barbara was our brand ambassador in chief.
As I said at the outset, the brand does not belong to marketing, or comms or fund-raising, it is the business of all teams across the organisation. As part of the review we developed brand values and behaviours that we wanted to embed in the organisation to facilitate the transformation that I referred to before.Our model looks a bit like an iceberg. We have worked hard to communicate the values and behaviours to teams across the organisation and the HR team are working on competencies that will fit into this process. The competencies will be included in recruitment and selection of staff and performance management. So we are embedding the values and behaviours into the objectives of all staff. Over time, we want living the brand to become second nature for all staff and not a discrete project that resides in the marketing department.So, top Tip 3 : Embed the values throughout the organisation, and make sure that behaviours inform the competencies on which personal performance will be measured.
We worked really hard on this element of the re-brand. And it paid dividends. A lot of this work took place pre-launch. So we consulted with staff, volunteers and stakeholders as we were developing the brand, and used their feedback to inform the brand solution. But once we had agreed the new brand and before we launched it, we wanted to go back to these groups to let them now where we had got to and why. Having consulted with supporters and volunteers, we realised that their major concern was wasting existing materials in the old brand. We agreed on a phased approach and ‘brand amnesty’ to allow for old brand materials to be used up and to give us time to get all the new materials in place. We used multiple channels to communicate to 240,000 supporters and stakeholders before launch. We put a lot of effort into engaging with staff members across the organisation. Over three weeks in November and December we travelled nearly 2000 miles, visiting all 11 regional offices and did 26 face to face presentations, reaching all 231 Diabetes UK staff members. It paid dividends and got us fantastic and crucial buy-in from our colleagues. We worked with our volunteer team, giving them presentations and briefings so that they had the tools to communicate with volunteers and supporters in advance of the launch. We now have an army of ambassadors who are able to take our message to their audiences.Top tip 3 : Mobilise enthusiastic ambassadors at all levels across the organisation.
Myself and my team agreed at the outset that we did not want to be seen as ‘the brand police’ and were keen to work with colleagues in partnership to understand what their requirements were and to make sure that the new brand was flexible enough to accommodate their requirements, but prescriptive enough to make sure that all of our outputs – regardless of which team was producing them – had a consistent look and feel and conformed to brand guidelines.So we produced a set of brand guidelines with two sections1 Brand components – so this had all the technical stuff in it, logos, positioning, colours, typography.2 Using the brand – this gives guidance on photography and also how to apply the brand components in practice eg on fundraising material, campaign materials, letterheads, powerpoint presentations.We really tried to make the guidelines as user –friendly and flexible as possible.We also produced a brand positioning statement and a key messages document so that we had a consistent way of describing who we are and what we do. We have more work to do on the key messages and will be progressing that in Phase 2 of our roll out.I was particularly pleased when the Head of Fund-raising commented to me the other day that the new brand had given them new opportunities and enabled them to improve their communications with existing supporters and potential donors.
Hopefully this gives a feel for the way that the brand has enabled us to get our messages out – whether corporate, fundraising events, campaign materials and also how we applied it to our flagship roadshow programme.So Top Tip 4 : Be a partner to those in your organisation, don’t get boxed into the role of brand police. Don’t tell them what they can’t do, work with them to show what they can do.
Building and maintaining a brand is not an exact science, it’s more of an art driven by science. There are different ways that you can approach it, and there may be different top tips. Based on my experience at Diabetes UK, but also with different brands in the commercial sector – including The Economist, my top tips are as follows.
In conclusion, I want to leave you with the observation that I started with. A brand is not the preserve of the marketing or comms department – it is everyone’s business. Articulated brilliantly here by someone who knows a thing or two about branding.I hope this has been useful and am happy to take any questions you might have.
Making your brand work
Mission Critical: CraftingYour CommunicationsStrategy Workshop30 May 2012 #CommsStrategy
TOP TIPS FORMAKING YOURBRAND WORKJacqui Kean, Head of Marketing
1 February 2012 – Out with the pink in with the blue
Top tip 1 Position the brand as a key tool in your business strategy “Diabetes is fast becoming the most urgent and challenging public health issue of our time. A tough challenge needs a strong brand. We have a new brand that clearly communicates who we are and what we do, and I believe that it will help to improve the impact of our work.” Barbara Young, Chief Executive Diabetes UK
Top tip 2Embed the values throughout the organisation User Research Campaigning Engagement involvement and policy Fundraising Partnerships Media Membership coverage offer Empowering Advertising Care and Values support Influential Appeals Conferences and events Expert Radical Behaviours Dynamism Collaboration Accountability Competencies: Knowledge + skills + personal attributes
Top tip 3Mobilise enthusiastic ambassadors Richard Lane, President Sam Morris, Volunteer Development Officer Eastern regionDebbie Shearring, volunteer
Top tip 5 Evaluate consistently over timewith charities versus favourability towards them
Top tip 5 Evaluate consistently over time % prompted and unprompted familiaritywith90 charities versus favourability towards them 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 60 70 80 90 100 Net favourability score Base: All who are familiar from total sample of 2,015
Top Tips1. Position the brand as a key tool in your business strategy2. Get everyone in the organisation to live and breathe the values3. Recruit enthusiastic ambassadors4. Be a partner not a policeman5. Evaluate over time
“The brand is the most important and sustainable asset of any organisation – whether a product, or service based corporation or a not for profit concern – and it should be the central organising principle behind every decision and every action.” Rita Clifton, CEO Interbrand