Most brands are born from a partnership between a brand strategist and a creative director. But how does this look in practice?
For brand strategist, Dan Dufour, and creative director, Stuart Youngs, it’s all about leaning into each other’s expertise and collaborating to create something great. Something they recently did in order to create a new brand for the match funding charity, the Big Give.
The brand strategy part – Dan
The Big Give was founded by the businessman and philanthropist Sir Alec Reed in 2007. Since then, it has raised hundreds of millions of pounds for good causes through match-funding campaigns, by connecting charities with the public and funders.
But, unfortunately, over time, the brand had lost its mojo and appeared deflated.
Part of a brand strategist’s job is to define what a brand stands for in the modern world. And in this case, that meant working together with the Big Give team and agency partner Studio Texture on how to ‘position’ the brand in people’s hearts and minds. A task that is known as ‘brand positioning’.
The foundations of a strong brand are a clear and compelling explanation of what it stands for, why it exists, what it promises to deliver and how it goes about it.
This is typically the vision, mission and values in the charity sector. Although purpose is increasingly popular, due to the rise of purpose-led responsible businesses. The jargon doesn’t really matter and can be simplified to What, How and Why to avoid confusion.
What to think about?
The Big Give rebrand project started with a Discovery phase, which consisted of desk research, cross-sector market analysis and brand workshops with key audiences. Then a Define stage, where we created two contrasting concepts for strategic brand positioning – that were presented and critiqued in another workshop with the Big Give team. A process that enabled us to identify the right ingredients together before finessing the final version.
There is often a big idea at the heart of a brand that inspires all activity and the brand expression. For the Big Give, this idea is ‘Generosity Multiplier’. As it is through connecting people, organisations and charities through match funding campaigns, the charity can create positive change and everlasting impact on the world. It quite literally multiplies the impact of our generosity. Win, win!
This brand idea was universally liked by all audiences for its energy. Although we introduced some of the language from the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the second concept to explain the impact of generosity, for gravitas and a more contemporary feel.
With the foundations of the brand agreed upon, it was then time to write a creative brief for visual identity and tone of voice development. The brand positioning strategy and story form the cornerstone of the creative brief. They are used to inform and inspire creative concepts and to critique them against. The brand strategy acts as a guiding compass, and as a project evolves, a brand strategist, like myself, will help to make sure the creative development remains true to the strategy.
Here’s what this looked like for the Big Give:
Brand positioning strategy and story
Why – To multiply the impact of generous giving, and tackle the world’s big challenges.
What – When the public donates to a charity through a Big Give campaign, we ask our Champions (philanthropists, foundations or corporates) to match that donation. So £50 from a member of the public, becomes £100 to a good cause. Matching donations. Multiplying impact.
How – By connecting charities, our Champions, and the public, to multiply donations. We are Generous. We are Purposeful. We are Trustworthy. We are Together.
Brand idea: Generosity Multiplier
Brand story: Generosity. It feels good. And achieves more. Now multiply that good. Again and again.
Hello. We are the Big Give. Set up by the philanthropist Sir Alec Reed in 2007, as the leading match-funding charity. We run match funding campaigns for charities and special causes at key moments in the year, like Christmas. By connecting charities to Champions (like philanthropists, foundations or corporates) and the public, we help them double their donations.
And in doing so, make an extraordinary difference to the world’s big challenges. Issues like no poverty and zero hunger to climate action and gender equality. From good health and mental well-being to safe housing and strong communities.
No matter the need, no matter where in the world. The Big Give is here to unite hundreds and thousands of people. And ultimately, achieve a better and more sustainable future for us all. So let’s keep matching donations. And multiplying impact. Now.
The creative part – Stuart
The job of a creative director is to bring the brand positioning strategy to life through words and images.
The elements that make up the brand expression, such as the words, colours, typefaces, graphic devices, photography and illustrations, are all born from the brand positioning strategy. Together, they project the brand’s personality.
Ensuring the transition from strategy to creative can be seamless. For example, I work across the whole process of creating a brand, just with different emphases. So, during the strategy phase, I’m doing two things:
- A fly on the wall. Listening to understand.
- A tuner. Helping ensure the articulation of the brand will work as a strong creative platform.
Putting the pieces together
Using the brand strategy as a guide and constant point of reference, creative teams get to work developing the creative direction.
In the case of the Big Give rebrand, the single-minded brand idea of ‘Generosity Multiplier’ immediately inspired multiple visual ideas for myself and my creative team. We began experimenting with repetition and duplication. Doubling up and maximising. Then we struck upon the idea of kaleidoscopes. This fitted perfectly.
Kaleidoscopes have multiplicity at their heart. They felt exuberant. Mesmerising. And importantly, attention-grabbing and distinctive.
These graphics needed to work both as static images, as well as come to life in motion in surprising ways. We quickly found that all kinds of images worked within them, giving us enormous flexibility, yet consistency. This was key, as the Big Give works with so many different charities that all need to tell a different story.
The triangle, as a foundation of the kaleidoscopes, offered us a neat icon which helped tell the story of three sides coming together (match funders, charities and the public), to multiply their generosity for good causes. It also gave a grid structure to use across all communications.
Uniting brand strategy and creativity to create brand harmony
In the case of the Big Give, the resulting brand identity, developed from mutual respect and collaboration across the specialisms of brand strategy and creativity, is one that epitomises what’s unique about the charity. By working together, we have been able to produce a brand that reflects all the Big Give stands for in a way that’s ownable, memorable and impactful.
In our mind, the result of strategy and creative working in harmony is a stronger, more focused brand that is built on the collaborative spirit that is at the very heart of what the charity exists to do.
You can learn more about brand and creativity at our upcoming events:
Also, delve into our Brand 360 guide for advice on brand best practice.
Banner Image: Adrien Olichon on Pexels