Published: 30 January 2015

Refreshing the Anthony Nolan brand

Anthony Nolan’s story – and brand – began in 1974 when Shirley Nolan set up the world’s first register to find a bone marrow donor for her son, Anthony. Since then we’ve evolved far beyond being only a bone marrow register. We need to reflect our evolution as a blood cancer charity, without losing our core heritage of Shirley and Anthony’s powerful story.

Back in the summer of 2010 we rebranded, dropping the ‘Trust’ from our name and modernising our visual identity to help better target potential donors, in particular, young men who are most likely to go on to donate stem cells. The results were clear: in May 2010 we had around 36,000 men aged 16-30 on the register, now we have over 81,500.

Although this is a great step, we still urgently need to find ways of targeting this group of possible donors, without alienating all of our potential supporters who do not fit the criteria for joining the bone marrow register. Just days into our fifth decade of saving lives, we unveiled a brand refresh to allow us to do just that.

Our new strapline, ‘Saving the lives of people with blood cancer’, which replaces, ‘Be a match, save a life’, marks a shift to better reflect the range of ways that different audiences can get involved in Anthony Nolan’s work. Our message is that everyone can do something remarkable and become a lifesaver.

Over the past year we’ve worked to define our brand and make sure it clearly communicates what we stand for. We’ve developed our logo, tone of voice and colour palette in order to better engage with supporters and reflect the evolution of the charity as we expand into new areas of work.

Who we are and what we do

The previous strapline referred to a person joining the register being a genetic match for someone who needs a stem cell transplant. Although successful, it was only relevant to one of our audiences. The more we talked to our other existing and potential supporters, it became clear they didn’t understand the range of our work or the ways they could get involved, whether that’s campaigning, raising funds or volunteering.

Our marketing team and in-house studio worked with GOOD Agency on the brand refresh. As well as the highly visible changes to our logo and strapline we updated our photography as part of the process. Our work is all about saving individual people’s lives, so it’s important for our audiences to identify with the individual and their story. We’ve achieved this by creating authentic imagery of real people in the surroundings of their day-to-day lives.

Our senior management team has been involved in every step of the refresh, and as we prepared to roll out the new brand we ensured staff across the organisation were engaged, with the marketing department holding briefing sessions, interviews and internal workshops.

As a taste of the new brand and as a thank you to our supporters we shared a new video, ‘The Lifesavers’, which celebrates some of the remarkable people who have been part of Anthony Nolan over the last four decades – from marathon runners to donors and patients.

Overall, the brand refresh process has helped us to focus on our core strengths, our values and our personality. It has highlighted the areas of the business which make us who we are. We now have a brand which gives our different audiences a compelling reason to engage with us and emphasises that each person has a valuable role to play in saving the lives of people with blood cancer.


Richard Davidson, director of communications and marketing, Anthony Nolan

Richard Davidson has been director of communications and marketing at Anthony Nolan since July 2010, overseeing significant rebranding and policy campaigns that have helped refocus Anthony Nolan’s image and objectives. Previously a director of MHP Health Mandate, Richard is perhaps best known for his role as Cancer Research UK's director of policy and public affairs where he oversaw the organisation's policy formulation, external affairs, public campaigning and the tobacco control work that played a part in the smokefree public places legislation.

Richard previously worked at Health Mandate (a communications consultancy) and Cancer Research UK. Raising awareness about the charity and communicating with the press, public and supporters is a crucial part of what we do. Richard oversees this aspect of Anthony Nolan, creating a positive, productive dialogue between different groups. - See more at: http://www.anthonynolan.org/our-structure/our-senior-management-team#sthash.Px3G2ymC.dpuf
Richard previously worked at Health Mandate (a communications consultancy) and Cancer Research UK. Raising awareness about the charity and communicating with the press, public and supporters is a crucial part of what we do. Richard oversees this aspect of Anthony Nolan, creating a positive, productive dialogue between different groups. - See more at: http://www.anthonynolan.org/our-structure/our-senior-management-team#sthash.Px3G2ymC.dpuf
hhhhRichard previously worked at Health Mandate (a communications consultancy) and Cancer Research UK. Raising awareness about the charity and communicating with the press, public and supporters is a crucial part of what we do. Richard oversees this aspect of Anthony Nolan, creating a positive, productive dialogue between different groups. - See more at: http://www.anthonynolan.org/our-structure/our-senior-management-team#sthash.olXYqhf7.dpufRichard previously worked at Health Mandate (a communications consultancy) and Cancer Research UK. Raising awareness about the charity and communicating with the press, public and supporters is a crucial part of what we do. Richard oversees this aspect of Anthony Nolan, creating a positive, productive dialogue between different groups. - See more at: http://www.anthonynolan.org/our-structure/our-senior-management-team#sthash.olXYqhf7.dpuf
Richard previously worked at Health Mandate (a communications consultancy) and Cancer Research UK. Raising awareness about the charity and communicating with the press, public and supporters is a crucial part of what we do. Richard oversees this aspect of Anthony Nolan, creating a positive, productive dialogue between different groups. - See more at: http://www.anthonynolan.org/our-structure/our-senior-management-team#sthash.olXYqhf7.dpuf