We offer some tried and tested tips to ensure your charity rebrand is a success
The heart of your organisation is changing. New leadership, services, and audiences are a few of the reasons why charities rebrand. For some, a rebrand might be just what’s needed to engage audiences after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Sharing your new vision with supporters is as important as how you’ve changed on the inside. To get your digital rebranding right, check out some of the key concepts for success.
Getting your rebranding on point starts with knowing when and why. The Digital Branding Institute says there are strategic reasons and signs that it’s time to change. Charities might rebrand to increase competitiveness for funding and to grow audience reach.
Signs that your digital brand is getting tired are outdated websites, graphics, and email addresses. Accessibility matters, so sites that are not mobile friendly, don’t load well, or appear with 404 errors are signals that change needs to happen.
The Digital Branding Institute has top tips on email domains. Interestingly, if your organisation is still using Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, or Hotmail domains, the Digital Branding Institute suggests it’s time to upgrade.
Once you’ve decided to get a digital facelift, gather insights from internal and external voices. MissionBox suggests engaging with trustees and board members, volunteers, and charity staff. It’s important to know what needs to be changed, and the metrics of success.
For many charities, key questions about digital image should be investigated in this stage. Does your digital image reflect what you do? Who you are? At the management level, the rebrand includes what aims need to be achieved. Common rebranding aims are increasing website traffic, digital donations, and audience reach.
Charities don’t have to go at the project alone. Carefully crafted strategies can be executed with the help of digital agencies or consultants. There are many agencies that offer bespoke services for non-profits and charitable organisations.
Agencies Torchbox, Platypus Digital and IE Brand have dedicated businesses to the sector. They have worked with many well-known names to create content to achieve charitable aims.
In 2020, the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) rebranded amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation seemed challenging, considering they had already rebranded to Action on Hearing Loss in 2010.
The charity decided to revert back to its older name, RNID. They worked with an external branding consultant and creative designer to produce their new message and look.
Mark Atkinson, chief executive at RNID says: “Returning to RNID and redefining our purpose is a critically important step in our journey to make life more inclusive for deaf people and those with hearing loss and tinnitus. RNID continues to be a well-known and much-loved charity and I am proud that we have the confidence to make bold and radical changes which are crucial to our ambition to grow our audience reach and impact.”
With the pandemic focusing organisations on digital ‘connectivity’ the charity emphasised how those with hearing issues shouldn’t be excluded. A new logo and colour palette were commissioned. To get their revamped message out and to showcase their new image, the RNID launched a YouTube video highlighting the cause, which you can see below.
The RNID’s rebranding resonates well with audiences and it came at a much lower cost than its 2010 exercise. The charity reported that the rebranding cost only £69,000, and is very small when compared to the rebranding in 2010, which came in at £260,000.
When rebranding, focus on how to communicate your new look and aims. Sproutsocial offers practical tips on how to update your social media accounts and presence.
Covering the basics, they recommend making sure that all media accounts are refreshed with the new materials, colour palette and message. Consistency is key. Ensure that posts, Instagram stories, and promotional materials get the same treatment.
Letting audiences in on the rebranding creates buzz. Using interactive content, share your journey. Releasing the results of audience surveys and opinions on the rebrand prior to launch helps engage supporters. SocialMediaToday, the industry outlet, offers more advice. They say ‘leaking’ or previewing parts of the rebranding creates excitement. By engaging audiences prior to the revamp, charities can begin to build larger audiences even before the big reveal.
With any big project, planning ensures success. When Alcohol Research UK and Alcohol Concern merged, the strategy was key. Maddy Lawson, communications manager of the newly-merged charity Alcohol Change UK, sums it up. She says: “A good brand should be a reflection of and tool to achieve a charity’s mission. In that way it’s vital – but not for its own sake, and not without the strategy and action to give it substance.”