Case study: Bond

The membership body for international development organisations rebranded recently. What does our expert think?

Bond training event
Bond training event

The charity, whose functions include training and lobbying, has 368 members and 23 staff. Bond is funded by the Department for International Development and generates its own income from, for instance, membership subscriptions.

The charity's branding had never been updated when a review began in 2007. "It was old-fashioned and unclear," says Rebecca Evans, membership and communications manager at Bond. One problem was that Bond is an acronym for British Overseas NGOs for Development. "It isn't memorable, sounds dated and has a colonial feel to it," says Evans.

The old blue logo, which included images of people that were mistaken for stars, was often confused with the European Union flag, and led some people to think the charity operated only in the EU.

After talking to members, the charity realised there was support for a change. The secretariat gave the go-ahead and the charity awarded the tender for the work to communications agency Neo, which completed its work last summer. The rebranding was unveiled in November and has given the charity a different look. The new logo is red and much bolder and clearer, suggesting transparency. The stars have gone, and so has the attempt to turn the 'o' into a globe.

The charity has adopted the strapline "for international development", which not only describes what the charity does as a standalone statement but also sits well after the charity's name if Bond is used as a verb, suggesting that organisations are bonding together to promote better international development.

The rebranding cost £14,900. "We were worried about wasting money, but our members have responded positively," says Evans.

The signs are that it is working. Membership has boomed in the months since the new look was unveiled. Organisations can join Bond every three months; at the last quarterly opportunity in February, 23 applied compared with an average of four or five.

Bond is keen to emphasise that the rebrand isn't intended to increase the charity's low public profile. "Our key audience is the membership," says Evans.

EXPERT VIEW - Vicky Hoad, Account manager, Blue Rocket

Bond's new tagline assumes just the right level of understanding on the part of its niche audience. "For international development" has campaigning and political overtones, and avoids any reference to empty business-speak about 'networks'.

The logo is also a major improvement. Its subtly overlapping letters draw on the idea of joining forces to become stronger, and the design neatly encourages interpretation of the word 'bond' as a verb.

The choice of a clean, lower-case font gives the logo a strong modern look, and the photography focuses on the ultimate beneficiaries of Bond's work. This is much more effective than the old visuals, which attempted to illustrate difficult concepts such as lobbying.

From the impressive figures so far, it seems NGOs are listening.


Creativity: 4

Delivery: 4

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