Sarah Woolnough: How rebranding our charity helped create a bold new identity for lung health

The creation of a new name and logo is just one small part of a huge team effort

Sarah Woolnough

Rebranding is never easy. You’re designing a new name, logo, website, adverts and merchandise, but more importantly you’re creating a whole new identity for your charity and cause. 

A rebrand has been on the cards since Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation merged in January 2020.

The change would allow us to divert more resources towards supporting our beneficiaries because we wouldn’t be working across multiple channels. 

It could also make a bigger impact advocating for people with lung conditions if we brought our expertise together under one name and brand. 

But what really prompted the rebrand and underpins it all is our new strategy. We undertook extensive analysis to understand the state of lung health in the UK and what we needed to do to best support our beneficiaries.

Lung conditions are the third biggest killer in the UK, yet less than two per cent of publicly funded research is spent on respiratory research.

The pandemic shone a spotlight on how devastating lung conditions can be, so it was clear the charity needed a strong vision and brand to help engage research funders, policymakers and corporate partners, and to inspire people to use our services or support us.

We worked with the consultant Mark Radda, who has worked with charities including the RSPCA and Sight Savers, to create our new name and identity, getting feedback from supporters, people with lung conditions, healthcare professionals and staff.

The feedback showed us it was vital to keep "asthma" in our name because it is the most prevalent and well-known lung condition.

We didn’t want to alienate our supporter base and with asthma so hugely misunderstood (many don’t believe it is serious when in fact every day four people die from an asthma attack), we needed to give it the recognition it deserves. 

We also needed to capture the fact that we were funding research, campaigning for and supporting people with all other lung conditions too. 

Our rebrand as Asthma + Lung UK reflects these important points.

Our new logo is a plus symbol which represents the coming together of the two leading lung charities – and it is a positive sign set in bright colours, because we are optimistic about improving everyone’s lung health. 

Feedback from supporters on the logo has been positive – they like the fact it is eye-catching and shows the unifying link between asthma and lungs, that the two are equal partners.

Of course, the creation of the logo and name is just one small part of the process, and rebranding has been a huge team effort across the organisation. 

We have formulated new organisational values including “courage” and “pushing for better”; ensured we meet all the legal criteria such as listing on Companies House and with the Charity Commission; created a new website; merged our social media channels and tailored our communications to inform thousands of our different stakeholders about the news. 

For our brand launch day, we launched a powerful media story with the support of celebrities affected by lung conditions including the fitness guru Rosemary Conley, the TV and radio presenter Toby Anstis and Love Island’s Priya Gopalda. 

This rebrand is a huge milestone for Asthma + Lung UK and the 12 million people in the UK who will develop a lung condition in their lifetime.

It reaches far beyond a new name and logo – it’s about changing how the country sees lung conditions and the people living with them. 

Sarah Woolnough is chief executive of  Asthma + Lung UK

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