Have you seen it? We have and we like it.
In September 2018 on their 150th anniversary, RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) relaunched their brand. Their core objective was to move away from being perceived as ‘old fashioned’ and non descriptive to a more ‘modern, dynamic and community led’ brand (Sophie Castell – Director of Relationships for RNIB, 2018).
Molly Fleming, a Journalist for Marketing Week had written an interesting article; ‘RNIB on breaking down barriers so people see the person not the sight loss’. Having interviewed key members from RNIB, Molly wrote about the process RNIB used to reposition their brand. To summarise, the charity listened to core users perspectives to better understand why and how they use the services RNIB provide. It was important to focus on the value they provided in helping people deal with different forms of sight loss. Using this information, a new vision statement and subsequent marketing objectives were formulated based on a premise of ‘3 pillars’. The aim in fulfilling these was to make the RNIB more accessible, more user friendly and very much in keeping with ‘why’ they exist. So with this in mind, the first ‘pillar’ is to equip blind and partially sighted people with new skills. The second ‘pillar’ aims to connect communities, and the third ‘pillar’ aims to change societal attitudes towards those with sight loss’ (Sophie Castell, 2018).
In our eyes as a branding experts, Sophie Castell, the Director of Relationships of RNIB did everything right to propel RNIB forward into a new direction. Using experience gained at Coca-Cola and the National Autistic Society, she co-created a process with her team and appointed designers that focused on thorough research which asked tough questions of RNIB users, staff members and other stakeholders associated with the charity. The answers they sought needed to be honest and raw so that they could build strong justifications for a clear strategy that effectively helps the revitalised branding sit favourably with their users, the public and loyal army of supporters. Achieving this scale of change within RNIB requires insightful design, sensitivity, clear messaging and a managed approach of resources to ensure it has the best chance of being accepted by the wider community and internal workforce.
A successful rebranding exercise always requires a lot of behind the scenes work before a designer can start to work on a concept. For RNIB, this included:
👉 Undertaking thorough research – using workshops and consultations with their users (blind and partially sighted people). The subsequent feedback was used to co-create the new visual identity. The number one priority was making sure it worked for them on an emotional and practical level,
👉 Listening to perceptions. For instance, ‘stuffy’ and ‘Institutionalised’ are two of the pre-conceived impressions RNIB wanted to actively move away from,
👉 Creating a new vision for RNIB was created which realigned the core purpose of ‘why’ the charity exists. It had to be more in line with user expectations for the rebrand to be more successful,
👉 Formulating a strategic intent with clear achievable and clear objectives (the 3 pillars) which elevated RNIB from being a ‘service provider’ to a ‘game changer’ (Sophie Castell, 2018) that empowers people,
👉 Using important data insights to develop a brand strategy that would serve the new vision,
👉 Penning A new tagline ‘See differently’ that streamlined the RNIB’s message,
👉 Intelligently designing a new logo that could be seen and read by the blind; the very people who needed the assistance of RNIB the most,
👉 Commissioning an passionate relaunch on their 150th anniversary using humour to cleverly implement their campaigns. Scroll down to see print and digital examples.
Introducing the new RNIB brand identity
Marc Donaldson, Head of Art, at The&Partnership was the lead creative behind the design of the new visual identity and relaunch campaign. RNIB is a charity that has been in existence for 150 years. Rebranding this veteran brand was no easy task for Marc. There were lots of impassion views associated with the old brand style and subsequently it took Marc almost a year to get the new identity just right for everyone involved with RNIB. It became his passion project.
Here is Donaldson’s new RNIB logo broken down into component parts. The anecdotes summarise Marc’s reasoning and justification for why individual elements are created in this way.
The video below is a great overview of what happened behind the scenes showing the overall rebranding and creative process.
The rebrand in September 2018 has been received with mixed reviews. Some RNIB users and supporters love it and others believe the reported spend of £70K could have been better distributed elsewhere in the Charity. It will always be open to debate whether sticky resources such as branding deserve this level of investment. We think it is as a survey asking a 1000 businesses how they use design noted that organisations who embrace design see ‘an increase in sales turnover, business competitiveness, awareness and recognition of brand and/or brand loyalty’ (The Design Economy 2018, p.23,). More importantly for RNIB though Sophie Castell hopes that the new brand positioning will be a game changer in the way that RNIB proactively tackles blindness and sight loss for years to come. Martin Wingfield, Head of Brand at RNIB also conveyed:
“With the energy, care and dedication that has gone into the project, we’re proud to present our new face to the RNIB community and to the public. We hope the campaign addresses misconceptions many hold about people with sight loss, and truly puts RNIB back on the map.”
Campaign concepts and delivery
The relaunch consists of a number of video advertisements and poster campaigns. The messages communicated across both mediums take a tongue and cheek approach to the troubles blind and partially sighted people contend with on a daily basis. The core aim is to see the charities users as real people who are no different from the average Joe. That being, you or me. Take a look at Dan’s plight below.
The Video Campaign
The poster campaigns will feature on billboards and in magazines. They all feature a single image on a brightly coloured background with tag lines that feature light hearted humour that challenge societies existing perceptions of people with a sight disability. Here they are below.
Brand Jam as a branding agency – our final thoughts
We wrote this blog post to showcase RNIB as a brilliant case study of how to rebrand correctly. It doesn’t matter how young or established your existing brand is, it is possible to change associations and your organisations presence with careful planning, thorough research and skilled design and implementation. Through really listening to their core audience and revisiting why the organisation exists, RNIB have chosen a bold strategy to move the organisation forward.
“To set us out on the next 150 years, we needed to revitalise our positioning and re-connect with our community, and raise more awareness of the vital work we do with blind and partially sighted people” – Mark Wingfield, Head of Brand, RNIB (taken from The&Partnership creates new visual identity for RNIB sight loss charity By
We really like the new visual identity. It does do what Sophie Castell, Mark Wingfield and Marc Donaldson wanted it to do. It challenges stereotypes and certainly makes you readdress you thoughts about who people with blindness or partial sightless really are. The light hearted and tongue in cheek humour speaks to your emotions which is what a successful brands need to do in order to change misconceptions. The message ‘See the person, not the sight loss’ is a strong, bold statement which will hopefully encourage people to support and communicate the visually impaired in more ‘normal’ and constructive ways. RNIB has adopted a new brand identity which is empowering. We sincerely hope the users, staff and supporters embrace it fully so it can become the game changer it needs to be.
Brand Jam’s Rebranding Service
We are experienced designers and marketers who can help you rebrand your organisation. Our process is very similar to that which has been described above. We 100% believe that all rebranding projects have the potential to be successful if you can fully embrace how your organisation can best meet the needs of the markets in which you operate. We can help you create clear messaging and create high quality brand assets that will move you from where you are now to where you want to be. We focus on thorough research, using valuable insights to create a brand strategy that you’re proud to put in front of your customers.
If this is something that interests you, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We promise you excellence, intelligent design and total value for money at a snip of the cost RNIB paid.
*Acknowledgements: Quotations from Sophie Castell are taken directly from ‘RNIB on breaking down barriers so people see the person not the sight loss’ written by Quotations from Marc Donaldson, Head of Art at The&Partnership, London and Mark Wingfield, Head of Brand at RNIB are directly taken from The&Partnership creates new visual identity for RNIB sight loss charity By