Charity communicators know that developing a successful brand is more than just creating a logo, choosing colours, or writing a catchy tagline. To truly connect with your target audience, it’s important to engage them and base your brand strategy on their insights. Involving your colleagues in the process can also be invaluable, as it provides valuable input and builds excitement.
A brand is about how it makes people feel, and by prioritising audience engagement and insights, you can create a brand that truly resonates with your target market.
As Scotland’s leading environmental charity, Changeworks’ brand needs to engage a wide range of audiences, spanning business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B). Another equally important audience is internal: our colleagues. Our brand refresh aimed to enable us to reach wider markets and create a moment of pride for colleagues after a difficult few years of the pandemic, energy crisis, and escalating climate emergency. Here are some things my team and I learned.
Developing a flexible brand
Changeworks’ 2022-25 strategy has one focus: to decarbonize Scotland’s homes. Scotland has some of the least energy-efficient homes in Europe, accounting for 13% of carbon emissions. We work with partners, housing associations, and local authorities to drive transformation in the energy efficiency of housing, meet net-zero targets and tackle fuel poverty. We also support householders through expert energy advice.
With new services being developed to expand our reach to tackle the accelerating climate emergency, it was time to update Changeworks’ brand.
Changeworks’ main brand touchpoint, our website, also needed to be updated to enable us to build engagement with our audiences through a clear brand proposition and insight-based user journeys.
How we did it
Creative agency The Lane was commissioned to update the brand and website. The brief was to strengthen the brand and develop a bold visual identity to stand out and reflect over 35 years of expertise. Here’s our top tips:
- Engage colleagues. An effective brand reflects an organisation’s mission, and strategy and adapts with evolving markets. It is vital that colleagues understand and embrace the brand, and that it is useful in their day-to-day work.
We set up a working group with colleagues from across Changeworks to ensure the brand reflected the range of services that we offer. This collaborative approach worked well. It helped to gain support for the project and ensured new templates were practical and functional as well as on-brand.
2. Use insight and test with the audiences you want to reach. We commissioned research to understand our markets better and inform our brand strategy. We also tested our updated brand via surveys with priority market segments.
The response was positive, with respondents seeing the brand as professional, bold, memorable – and crucially, as the sustainable choice. The brand tone also scored highly against supportive, friendly, confident and experts – all traits we need our brand to encompass. For the website, we developed B2B and B2C personas and undertook UX testing to shape user journeys and content.
3. Develop flexible tools for your brand.
3.1 We developed five tone-of-voice pillars that help us communicate effectively. Each pillar captures a distinct tone and messaging style, allowing us to adapt our language to fit the needs of our different audiences:
- We’re knowledgeable and assured. We are evidence-based and use case studies, facts and stats to back up our expertise.
- We’re enabling and supportive. We explain jargon and acronyms, share our expertise and support people on their decarbonisation journeys.
- We’re ambitious. We’re innovative, passionate and frame things in a motivating way to inspire others to take action.
3.2 Our photography guidelines are two-fold; one set is for photos of people in their homes, reportage-style. The other is for technical photography, ensuring that installation shots of, for example, an air source heat pump always follow best practice and comply with health and safety regulations.
3.3 Alongside our primary brand colours, we have a broad secondary colour palette to complement and add further flexibility.
3.4 Given that we can split our audiences into B2B and B2C, our new website has two sections – one aimed at householders and the other at organisations – so that users can navigate to content tailored to them.
4. Make it fun. To help ensure the brand was well-understood and embraced by colleagues, we created various resources, including a quiz, top tips, and a one-page game sheet that featured a word search of our values and a ‘spot the incorrect logo’ challenge.
The marketing team ran brand training sessions with all colleagues, which included some engaging interactive sections to bring what a brand is to life.
We also asked all teams to nominate a ‘Brand Champion’. The Brand Champions received special training and help their teams feel at home with the brand guidelines and templates. The Brand Champions have been a great support in helping to embed the brand.
The brand and website launched w/c 5 June, coinciding with our annual colleague gathering. At the gathering, we had a brand bingo round as well as an origami challenge in the form of an origami house pattern, which we asked colleagues to build and share via social media. One colleague even made some branded pottery – a lovely demonstration of how colleagues have embraced the brand.
Adapting a brand for different audiences requires a flexible approach, incorporating insights and feedback from internal and external audiences. By engaging colleagues, using audience insights, and developing flexible tools, you can create a brand that truly resonates with your audiences and feeds into your wider strategy.
Discover the essential elements that contribute to a powerful brand strategy by joining us at our upcoming Charity brand and creative conference.
For more rebranding inspiration check out our Brand 360 Guide, and you may also want to read:
- Five important pieces of groundwork to consider before rebranding your charity
- Collaborate to succeed: lessons from creating an inclusive rebrand
- Realities of a rebrand
- Putting tinnitus front and centre with a powerful new brand identity
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