London-based alcohol and drug abuse charities ARP and Rugby House merged in January this year and launched a new brand and name, Foundation 66, in July. The merger created a large support organisation for people with primarily alcohol-based substance-abuse problems. It supports 6,500 clients in 19 London boroughs.
Manchester branding agency Holden and Sons was brought in to do the rebrand. It took a year and cost the charity £14,500.
Holden and Sons began by interviewing and holding brainstorming sessions with members of staff, clients and users of the charity's services. When it had put together some initial ideas, it presented them to all the people it had consulted and asked for feedback. "We tried to get as wide a perspective as possible," says Nick Sweet, director of corporate services at Foundation 66.
After the initial suggestions were rejected, further discussions took place and new options were brought forward. During this process, the word 'foundation' proved popular.
Peter Holden, creative director at Holden and Sons, says adding the strapline "The Alcohol and Drug Service" to the logo allowed it to create a name that did not have to include its core functions.
"We wanted to get across the notion of what the charity does, but didn't want that to get in the way of the name, so we realised we needed a strapline," he says.
The word 'foundation' is "really boring on its own", says Holden. The figure 66 was included because ARP was established in 1966 and, at the point of the merger, the organisations had a combined age of 66 years. The green, purple and black colours of the individual charities were retained after the merger.
The charity has not carried out any formal research on brand recognition, but Sweet says he is pleased with how widely the new name has been adopted by staff, commissioners and users. He says the organisation is becoming better known and has been asked to participate in research and to supply comment pieces to the media.
"The brand will be backed up by what we do, but the name is already being used, which is great," says Sweet. Paul Jarvis.
EXPERT VIEW: Dan Dufour, Consultant, The Team
Commercial brands such as Apple or Orange have big budgets to build awareness of abstract names, but that simply isn't the case with charities. Foundation 66 made me scratch my head - I was perplexed at first because I had no idea what it did.
Next, I turned my attention to the website strapline "Changing lives together". "Changing lives" happens to be one of the most overused phrases in the charity sector, so it isn't unique or inspiring.
Finally, in what felt like an add-on, I got to the nitty gritty - "The Alcohol and Drug Service".
With so many different elements, the new logo lacks real impact. I'm not convinced the brand delivers a sufficient bang for the bucks that have been invested.
With limited funds for promotion, charity brands need to be clear, bold, simple and intuitive.
Total: 4 out of 10