Branding is a huge concept. It is what gives your organisation its identity and conveys your whole reason for being, visually and otherwise. Going beyond just the design assets your organisation uses in its daily communications, branding can be defined as: “the perpetual process of identifying, creating, and managing the cumulative assets and actions that shape the perception of a brand in stakeholders’ minds” (Branding Magazine, 2015).
It therefore goes without saying that on-point branding is especially important to social good organisations, with huge purposes that impact hundreds, thousands or even millions of individuals across all segments of our communities. We want to be listened to. Heard. Supported. Branding is your first point of call in achieving that recognition.
It is generally upheld that businesses should rebrand, on average, every seven to ten years. There are loads of reasons to rebrand but some of the main factors include: keeping up with appearances and remaining on-trend and contemporary; repositioning your organisation; or moving towards a more client or customer-centric approach.
Overall, a rebrand can help you meet your organisation goals by attracting more and new audiences and therefore improving reach and impact.
1. Guide Dogs Australia
In February 2021, the Australian charity organisation Guide Dogs Australia rebranded in order to better communicate the services it offers to people with low vision and blindness and reflect how the charity has changed and evolved over its 60-year history. The charity wanted the new branding to encapsulate all the services it provides, guide dogs and beyond.
Key elements of the rebrand:
- A NEW LOGO. The bold, clear choice of font style is modern and on-trend while also reflecting the charity’s mission to provide accessibility to those with low vision. Significantly, the dog image was removed from the charity’s logo. A very intentional and impactful decision.
- A NEW DIRECTION IN PHOTOGRAPHY, focusing not just on the service dogs but also placing emphasis on the human element and human connection the charity’s services result in.
- NEW WEBSITE. The site’s design is bold, using lots of colour blocks and on-brand symbols. Images alternate between cute puppy pics and diverse human ones to stay true to its vision for the rebrand. Notice that the chosen images feature individuals of varying styles (bright hair colours, tattoos and so forth), ages, genders and ethnicities. It’s all very contemporary.
What did the rebrand achieve?
Guide Dogs Australia has indicated that it wants to expand and modernise its service offering beyond just ‘the dogs’. In rebranding, the charity can clearly reposition itself while also attracting newer, younger and more diverse audiences and donors. The new branding also reestablishes the organisation’s brand values e.g. accessibility.
2. Visit Eau Claire
The US city of Eau Clare in Wisconsin has rebranded itself into “the indie Capital of the Midwest”, a place where the arts are thriving, individuality is celebrated and farm kids are likely to grow up and become artists and entrepreneurs. To seal its reputation as an alternative destination, the University town’s tourism board introduced a vibrant new branding strategy in 2018. The logo was designed by local agency Odd Brand Strategy.
Key elements of the rebrand:
- A NEW LOGO was key to the tourism agency’s rebrand. The bright and creative approach taken reflects the city’s creative and youthful ambience; some describe it as a place that is “forever young”. The logo’s bright alternate hues are now cleverly used both digitally and in real-life contexts. Check out a recent mural and sculpture commissioned for the city, for example.
- COMPLEMENTING DESIGN ASSETS were created to repurpose the new branding for various platforms. For example, the font designed for the logo is used in other contexts across the website. A secondary cursive font adds softness and dept. Check out the below imagery.
How might the rebrand help Visit Eau Claire achieve its organisational goals?
The core organisational goal of tourist board Visit Eau Claire is to generate interest and activity, and thereby income, in the area. A vibrant new brand image, which is very on-trend and targeted at a younger demographic and therefore lends itself well to youth-savvy platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, will help the board achieve those aspirations by dramatically extending the reach of its marketing efforts.
3. North Marin Community Services
NMCS is a human services nonprofit organisation serving the Californian county of North Marin through various social services such as education and health programmes for low-income earners. The organisation enlisted design and branding agency Good Stuff Partners to write new key messaging and update their look and feel across every channel.
Key elements of the rebrand:
- A CREATIVE DESIGN APPROACH. In addition to the striking new logo, the agency developed colourful shapes to be used as a complementary design feature across platforms. The shapes nod to papel picado, the decorative craft of cutting elaborate designs into sheets of tissue paper in the Hispanic culture, and are a very intentional choice given the area’s largely Hispanic population.
- BOLD KEY MESSAGING. The language used across the nonprofit’s new website and socials is concise and to-the-point, emphasising that help is available “now” even in the most urgent situations. It reflects the organisation’s commitment to positive action and accessibility.
What similarities to these rebrands for the ‘social good’ share?
Which factors contribute to a successful social good rebrand? A few similarities stand out, including:
- Colourful, eye-catching design. Bright colours certainly seem to be ‘in’!
- Bold, striking imagery and a consideration for diversity
- Concise, accessible, to-the-point language to really emphasise the organisation’s mission
- An understanding that rebranding goes beyond just a new logo – it’s equally important to consider complementary design features and how the new look and feel will be translated across different platforms, digital and traditional.
Summarising the benefits of a rebrand
Rebranding will help your organisation redefine and assert its identity; connect with a new audience; differentiate from competitors; stay contemporary and current; and, if all goes well, boost the bottom line. If your branding is outdated and/or no longer aligned with your goals as an organisation, it could well be time to rebrand.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lee Tobin, Marketing Expert
Lee is a professional storyteller. She uses a storybook approach to emotively communicate your organisation’s core messages to your target audience. She especially loves social media and believes that comms should always be bold.