Third Sector Excellence Awards 2012: Brand Development - Winner: Blind Veterans UK

For the best new, changed or evolved brand

One judge said it was a brave step to rename a charity that can trace its roots to 1915
One judge said it was a brave step to rename a charity that can trace its roots to 1915

The charity St Dunstan's was a household name in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was known for its work with blind former military personnel.

Blind Veterans UKBut research conducted by the charity revealed that few people under the age of 75 were aware of it today. A massive 84 per cent of beneficiaries questioned said that people they spoke to about the charity had "not heard of St Dunstan's or weren't sure what it did".

Clearly, it was time to rethink the brand. The two-year rebranding process began in 2010 and involved interviews, surveys, open forums and 11 focus groups. Staff and beneficiaries suggested more than 250 new names, which focus groups reduced to just four.

The brand consultancy Spencer du Bois then asked potential and current supporters, beneficiaries, volunteers and staff about the shortlisted names and overall brand identity of the charity.

The study concluded that Blind Veterans UK was the preferred name, that the new identity should capture the spirit of the armed forces and that basing the logo on the Union Flag would "get to the heart of the public and the organisation".

Blind Veterans UKThe budget for the rebrand was £90,000, but the charity estimated that it would help to raise an extra £7m over five years. The new branding incorporates a reference to the charity's former identity - St Dunstan's since 1915 - in honour of the organisation's heritage and to help maintain a link with the past for its older beneficiaries.

Research by charity consultancy nfpSynergy suggested that, although only 16 per cent of the British public would consider supporting St Dunstan's, 22 per cent would consider supporting Blind Veterans UK. The charity also attributed to the new branding a 35 per cent increase in sign-ups to its 100km London to Brighton walk.

Award judge Francine Bates, chief executive of the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, said it was a "very brave step to rename and rebrand an organisation that can trace its roots back to 1915, but the execution is very good and results look extremely promising".

JUDGING PANEL

Francine Bates, chief executive, Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths

Vicky Browning, director, CharityComms

Ken Burnett, managing trustee, SOFII - the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration

Max du Bois, executive director, Spencer du Bois (he did not take part in judging entries his agency was involved in)

HIGHLY COMMENDED

- Students' Union Royal Holloway

- Young Epilepsy

OTHER FINALISTS

- Campaign to Protect Rural England

- Merlin

- Read about the winning entries

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