Samaritans undergoes makeover

The Samaritans is carrying out a comprehensive rebranding to increase its relevance and reach. The aim is to establish the charity as an active organisation working on a range of programmes aside from its helpline service.

It will also focus on developing a range of new relationships across the public, voluntary and corporate sectors to communicate a more positive and high-profile message about its suicide prevention services.

"If we're ever perceived as old-fashioned and out of touch, we may as well all go home,

said Simon Armson, chief executive at the Samaritans.

"It's pointless to recruit and train volunteers if the majority of people believe we have no relevance to their lives or the needs of society. We have to keep moving and developing to ensure we stay ahead of the game."

For the past 18 months, the charity has worked with advertising agency Wolff Olins to create a new look and feel for the charity, which includes a logo designed to convey a more welcoming and contemporary face for the Samaritans.

Part of the rebrand will see the charity attempt to reach communities or groups identified as being particularly susceptible to suicide. It plans to use more contemporary channels such as mobile text-messaging and ambient media such as bus tickets to open up the charity to new sectors of society with the message that it can help people suffering from any kind of emotional distress.

"It's vital that we recognise that we take a more holistic approach and explore every avenue open to us,

said Armson. "Of course suicide remains at the very centre of our philosophy but we want to show that it's a long road, and we can help people along every step of the way."

The rebrand is part of a wide-ranging strategic review that the charity has been undertaking in the run up to its 50th birthday anniversary next year. The new logo and message will launch with a nation-wide communications and fundraising campaign in November.

"The campaign is extremely important to us,

said Armson. "We need to make a big splash in the lead up to Christmas and ensure that our message will reach those who may need our help."

A "With Samaritans tagline will be used across some direct marketing and advertising materials and as part of any joint activity the charity does with partner organisations in an attempt to foster closer links with its supporters and the general public.

"Our interpretation of a rebrand is something that is not just a logo, or a change of colour or typeface, but a thorough reconsideration of how to move forward and challenge peoples preconceptions of what they believe we stand for,

said Armson.

This is the first time that the charity has undergone such a comprehensive rebranding, although it modernised its logo more than 15 years ago.

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