Brand Report: Campaign to Protect Rural England

The charity overhauled its branding to help the public have a better understanding of what it does

Campaign to Protect Rural England's new branding
Campaign to Protect Rural England's new branding

The Campaign to Protect Rural England launched its new branding in April this year, after a lengthy consultation concluded that even the organisation's own members thought it lacked clarity when communicating with the public and had a range of identities that confused people.

Part of the problem was that the abbreviation CPRE has had a number of meanings during the organisation's history. For example, it used to stand for Council for the Protection of Rural England.

The CPRE first began its consultation on a possible rebrand in 2009. "We asked our 60,000 members what they thought our strengths and weaknesses were and what the organisation meant to them," says Dan McLean, CPRE communications director.

Campaign to Protect Rural England's old brandingThis consultation took the form of face-to-face meetings with members, online surveys, newsletters and regional events. "We also spoke to people who didn't know us and got a keen insight into perspectives on the organisation," McLean says.

What was the outcome? Members thought the organisation should be better-known and the new brand should be closely aligned with the organisation's vision for the countryside in 2026, its centenary year.

CPRE awarded the rebranding contract to the design consultancy Spencer du Bois in early 2010. The consultancy was involved in a further series of more focused workshops with members. "We wanted to put the logos and visuals part to the back and focus on what our business was, where our key interests lay and how we talk to our members," says McLean.

The culmination of this work was a presentation to the CPRE national conference in November 2010. "One of the most complex issues was CPRE's federal structure," says McLean. "It is made up of 43 separate organisations, 41 of which are charities, and we were trying to get a unified brand." But the conference delegates backed the rebrand and were invited to provide feedback.

The new branding - which cost less than £30,000 and includes a new logo, colour scheme and typeface - was launched in April.

McLean says: "We hope that anyone who engages with us clearly knows what the organisation exists for, and that this will lead to more support for our vision."

EXPERT VIEW - Emma Jones, designer, Figtree

Emma Jones, designer, FigtreeThe CPRE protects something to be cherished - fresh air, wide, open spaces, our colourful, vibrant and beautiful countryside. It's a shame, therefore, that the brand doesn't capitalise more on this rich language to build a personality with more energy and positivity.

It is further hindered by an autumnal colour palette, a missed opportunity to tap into the bright and diverse colours and textures found in nature. The custom typeface, which is bold and attention-grabbing, if a little inelegant, seems to bear no relevance to the subject matter, jarring with the typography used in the strapline.

Consistency is vital to a successful brand. This brand fails to deliver a singular, consistent message. This is reflected by the fact that there are so many straplines to choose from. This is a shame, coming from an organisation with so much to offer.

Score:

Creativity: 2
Delivery: 2
4 out of 10

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