Breadcrumbs

Case study: the Richmond Fellowship

By Kate Youde, Third Sector, 8 December 2009

Richmond Fellowship

Richmond Fellowship

The mental health charity rebranded this year to mark its 50th anniversary. What did our expert think?

The Richmond Fellowship is one of the voluntary sector's largest specialist providers of mental health care, working with more than 6,000 people.

Dutch theology student Elly Jansen founded the organisation in 1959, when she invited Long Grove Hospital patients to live with her in the community in Richmond, Surrey. Today, 850 staff members provide more than 100 services in housing, care, employment and community support across the UK.

The charity recruited the communications consultancy Firesong Consulting to carry out a complete rebrand to mark its 50th anniversary this year and better reflect its broad range of services. Work also began on a new website. The Richmond Fellowship unveiled the results in October to mark World Mental Health Day.

The approach

Firesong Consulting conducted a 'brand audit' in May, looking at the Richmond Fellowship now and where it was heading. The consultancy held workshops across England with 52 members of staff and service users, and interviewed commissioners, GPs and the charity's board members. The results, which indicated that the recovery journey of service users was at the heart of the Richmond Fellowship's ethos, were used to develop 30 ideas for a new identity.

The proposals

The top two ideas were then subjected to 'reality checks'. Firesong Consulting held workshops with 43 staff members and service users, organised focus groups with employment services staff and clients, spoke to commissioners and the charity's board and conducted a written consultation with clients of employment and job-retention services.

Out of 108 people interviewed, 84 endorsed the new logo of a red 'dude' standing with his arms raised and emanating sparks, which symbolise hope. It was designed to bring to life the charity's strapline, "Making Recovery Reality", which was introduced in 2006. The rejected logo had a more corporate feel.

The effect

The charity says the logo's focus on the positive aspects of mental health encourages service users to behave in a more upbeat way. It also reflects its new mission statement: "We encourage, support and challenge people with mental health problems on their recovery journey."

The organisation has adopted a corresponding change in attitude at its weekly feedback sessions, concentrating on positive rather than negative developments. Firesong Consulting also removed jargon in brochures and leaflets to match the streamlined brand identity.

EXPERT VIEW

David Jenkinson, Creative director, Interbrand

These bold, colourful, Keith Haring-inspired graphics use an iconic 1980s style to create a friendly approach to a weighty issue.

The predominantly primary colour palette, playful characters and strong humanised font create an accessible identity that will help raise awareness of a subject that is all too often misunderstood.

Whether the brief was to evolve the illustrated people from the old identity or not, the bold lines, vivid colours and expressive figures carry strong messages of life and go beyond the industry norms of photographs of smiley, happy people on the road to recovery.

It would be interesting to know what effect the rebrand actually has in terms of awareness, but a funky range of t-shirts you can actually see people wearing with pride is a good start.

SCORE

Creativity - 4

Delivery - 4

8 out of 10

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