Rebranding a charity is no small feat. It involves navigating a variety of considerations, from the organisation’s mission and values to the preferences of its stakeholders. But with the right approach and audience in mind, a rebrand can elevate a charity’s profile and help it better connect with those it aims to reach.
Demand for support at Tinnitus UK has never been greater – we helped over 1.3 million people in 2021 and 2022. However, brand recognition was low, with many people unaware of us and the support we offer.
Here is how we used our powerful new brand identity to reach those affected by tinnitus.
Seeing the need for change
As the only UK charity solely focussed on tinnitus, our audience is very diverse:
- Scientific and healthcare community.
- People with tinnitus and those that support them.
- Donors and funders.
Research showed that whilst the ‘British Tinnitus Association’ had a legacy of trust amongst certain audiences, others felt it was “boring” and “old-fashioned” and forgettable.
Therefore, to explore our identity and develop a new one that would achieve our goals and communicate our purpose we appointed Missouri Creative. After reviewing our existing brand and talking to our audiences about their perceptions of us, Missouri Creative had good and bad feedback. But the standout response was that ‘the British Tinnitus Association’ didn’t really explain who we were and what we do.
So, we embarked on a rebrand project aimed at:
- Increasing our visibility and immediate relevance.
- Increasing understanding of who we are and what we do.
- Reaching new audiences.
- Improving our ability to fundraise.
Our old name, ‘the British Tinnitus Association’ carried a lot of history and credibility amongst those who already knew us.
With Missouri we looked at new names, which grouped around:
- Mission – eg Tinnitus Relief, Tinnitus Action
- Description – eg We are Tinnitus, The Tinnitus Association
- Word association – eg Hush, Clear
- Service – eg Tinnitus Care, Tinnitus Support
- Acronym – eg BTA, TIN (Tinnitus International Network)
We wanted to keep the audience at the heart of our rebrand, so we asked the tinnitus community for their feedback via surveys and focus groups. These consultations showed us that even those with an attachment to ‘the British Tinnitus Association’ felt a new name would be a springboard to a new phase of our development and future success.
The winning name from the tinnitus community was Tinnitus UK, combined with the strapline of ‘research, support, prevent’. This name puts tinnitus first, reflecting our practice and the associated words communicate the complex mix of work that we do. This combination reflects our values of boldness, trust and integrity and makes us easier to find, to be talked about and to be remembered.
With the new name, we changed our imagery to focus on those living with the condition and communicate the impact of tinnitus.
With such a multi-layered charity like Tinnitus UK, it was crucial that we understood the three discreet audiences and created a progressive and highly engaging visual language that cuts through a busy charity sector. Stuart Wood, Missouri Creative
The new logo displays the double ‘N’ in tinnitus to represent a soundwave, disrupting the centre of the word. The smooth outer line represents the calm that is the goal of anyone living with tinnitus. We also ‘wrap’ the soundwave around them to show the all-encompassing nature of tinnitus.
The new colour scheme aims to capture the audience’s attention and is an evolution of our previous brand blue with two punchy contrasts, coral and off-white. A set of pastel colours add interest and reflect a compassionate and approachable organisation. All colours were tested for accessibility.
Tailoring messaging to our audience
To maintain a consistent tone of voice, tailored to our audience, we created three tone of voice pillars that are flexed depending on who we are speaking to.
These are based on our values of compassion, respect and boldness.
These pillars give guidance, without being overly prescriptive.
Analytics have shown us that the time on each web page is surprisingly short in relation to the amount of information provided. Tinnitus can affect the concentration of 94% of people who experience it and the average reading age in the UK is just 9 years old. So, we came to the realisation that our messages and language needed to be more concise and easily digestible. This was particularly important given that most of our visitors access our content on tablet or mobile devices.
Our revised flagship booklet Living with tinnitus almost doubled in length, with less text on each page, and lots of white space. We consulted our readers panel for feedback during the booklet’s redevelopment.
A digital transformation
As a small charity with a very large potential audience, digital and online services are essential to reaching people and supporting them.
Our new name and identity deliberately coincided with our digital transformation. Thanks to grant funding, we were able to work with the tinnitus community to make our website easier to navigate, as well as introducing a chatbot to complement our live web chat.
The chatbot is designed to guide people to the relevant sections of the website to answer questions. With a friendly interface, the chatbot – a little puppy called Axel – asks questions in a natural way and logical order devised with our user group. The use of the chatbot has exceeded expectations, and as well as proving popular with our audience, it gives our tinnitus support team more time to focus on more complex queries and support our more distressed callers.
Throughout this process, we have changed our name, our brand identity, our website, and our language. But our vision remained the same – creating a world where no one suffers from tinnitus – and people with tinnitus were always at the heart of what we did. And we believe that this is why it has been a success and has set the charity on the path for even more success in the future.
Want to explore the important strategic and creative building blocks that make a strong brand? Join us for our upcoming Charity brand and creative conference.
Banner image: Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash