Brand Report: SSAFA

The armed forces charity's recent rebrand has brought an emphasis on family

SSAFA's rebrand focuses on the family
SSAFA's rebrand focuses on the family

The military charity SSAFA's recent rebranding is the culmination of two years' work that focused on how it could raise its profile among potential beneficiaries.

Previously called Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association Forces Help, the charity hopes that shortening its name to SSAFA and adopting the strapline "Lifelong support for our Forces and their families", will improve awareness.

"At the end of 2010, there were a number of new charities popping up in the sector that worked with the forces, and it became clear that the public were confused," says Athol Hendry, director of communications and marketing at SSAFA. "Not enough people were aware of what we did; even those that knew about us struggled to understand our offer."

The charity conducted research that found one of the main issues was its name, which came about after two charities merged 20 years ago.

"It didn't exactly roll off the tongue," says Hendry. "It also wasn't helping us achieve any clarity on what we do. Research found that 74 per cent of participants wanted us to keep SSAFA in the name and there was a huge amount of trust in it, so it was important we honoured that. We felt we would be better using it as a name, rather than as an acronym."

Another focus for the charity, which helps veterans and their families in various ways from adoption services to days out for kids, was to incorporate the word 'family' in the brand.

"We do huge amounts of work in different areas, but have struggled to find a message that was 'ownable' by everyone in the organisation," says Hendry. "Now we have a brand position, emphasised by our strapline, that is based around the family - that fits comfortably with us."

The charity spent four months rolling out the new look internally to ensure that its employees and volunteers understood and supported the changes.

"There has been a huge amount of enthusiasm for the new branding internally, which has really energised the charity," says Athol. "Our volunteers in particular have really been engaging with it and we've seen huge increases in the amount of interaction from the public with the charity online since the launch."

EXPERT VIEW: Dan Dufour, head of brand, The Good Agency

Dan Dufour, head of brand, The Good AgencyForces charities climbed the Charity Brand Index 2012 with the rise of Help for Heroes and the boost to national pride from the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee: the crest of a wave for SSAFA to ride on.

Its name has high recognition within the forces and the strapline adds clarity for those outside of it. The focus on putting families first, real-life photography and case studies will also inspire support.

I wouldn't get that the underline on the typeface represents lifelong support without it being explained to me. This sector is awash with red, white and blue, so the obvious colour choice does little to differentiate SSAFA.

I'd have liked more dynamism in the creative expression to bring the brand value 'practical' to life. It's logical for it to have a stiff upper lip, but does it pack enough punch to stand out?

Creativity: 3
Delivery: 4
Total: 7 out of 10

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