Words of advice! One charity to another...

Heather Ditch ran a great cafe on branding for the third sector cafe last year. Since then she's been busy on a few projects. One has just gone live (this week!) so Heather took the opportunity to ask the CEO what his top 5 tips would be for other charity leaders thinking of launching a re-brand process.

1. Be clear what outcome/s you want from the branding and keep reviewing your progress against these – keep a close control on cost and value for money.

  • speak openly with your agency
  • raise any concerns early
  • make sure everyone involved shares an understanding of what ‘success’ will look like

2. Try to include everyone in the journey and consult as widely as possible

  • it’s a great chance to engage
  • you’ll hear perspectives you didn’t know – it’s a great chance to learn
  • brand, and the process involved can be a brilliant tool for creating cohesion

3. Be prepared to change course where required

  • it’s easy to assume you know how things will turn out
  • but this is a process of discovery – that’s the whole point
  • so when you discover something new, don’t be afraid to review your plans.
  • wherever you go, go with conviction

4. Be decisive take informed risks and go for it

  • these projects need leadership and ownership
  • they evoke strong reactions sometimes, often challenging ones
  • and those are often contrary to direction
  • be considered and measured in response – know that your objectives are more important than personal preference
  • go with the conviction that says this is going to facilitate the meeting of objectives

5. Trust the experts – the branders – and where necessary, go with their expertise

  • you have recruited and paid professionals who have done this before
  • this may be an alien process to us, but we should trust their experience and insight
  • in some cases it may not feel intuitive, but where challenges come from all angles, let them manage and protect the process and its outcomes.

The new brand is now officially launched! You can have a look on their website. Heather gives a bit more context to the milestones that they’ve passed along the way:

•  Over 30 years they had build a reputation as Developing Initiatives Serving Communities – or DISC – for a blend of social care, housing, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, training and education in and across the north east.

•  In 2015, they embarked on a review of their mission, vision and values. This began with internal staff workshops to see what staff thought mattered, how they could best express their culture, and the future they wanted to work for.

•  Then, in 2016, they agreed a merger with a healthcare provider, and developed a new clinical offering. Their staff numbers would climb to around 700, and would rise as provision expanded.

•  In 2016, Sheffield brand agency Peter & Paul were contracted to deliver a brand review. This would have to take insights from the internal mission, vision, values work, add to it with other perspectives, and blend all that understanding into a new brand.

•  Nothing was off limits, so the name was up for review too.

•  Everything would then come together in a new name and brand identity, a new message and tone of voice, a new website, marketing, and all the other materials that were still branded DISC – signage across buildings, document templates, printed marketing.

• That new identity launches Monday June 11th 2018.

Heather is coming along to our Third Sector Cafe on branding on 21st June and is happy to talk about her experiences about what's involved in re-branding a charity - and how you can make the process run as smoothly as possible!

Sophy Hallam