How do you turn a collection of local projects into a coherent organisational brand?
This was the brand challenge we encountered with Sova. They were a volunteer-powered organisation that had been working with offenders, ex-offenders and young people for over 35 years to help them find the confidence to steer clear of crime and improve their lives. Their work was far-reaching – in 2012 the charity and its volunteers supported more than 8,500 people to find jobs and integrate back into society.
Yet despite this amazing achievement, Sova’s work had always stayed largely under the radar.
A big factor was that while Sova had grown organically over the past three decades, their reputation was based on the value of their individual local projects and there was no equity in the organisational brand. The current brand was more aligned with the institutional, impersonal style of the criminal justice sector in which they worked.
This was a problem. While Sova delivered projects on a local basis, they often had to compete for funding on a national level. Changes in funding structures had also created more competition, meaning that Sova were competing with the likes of Catch 22 and Princes Trust – organisations with incredibly strong brands known for their national portfolio.
Sova needed to clarify their position and voice in the market, and build a brand that would enable them to stand out from the crowd. It started by finding the common thread that ran through all Sova projects.
After research and interviews with Sova’s key audiences and stakeholders – volunteers, service users, funders – it became clear that Sova’s work is all about the relationship between their volunteers and the people they help.
They really believe in, and their work is testament to, the power an individual has to transform their life or that of someone else. that of someone else.
The creative positioning we arrived at was ‘we help people see a different future for themselves’.
We wanted to put human stories at the heart of the Sova brand and create a unified, non-institutional brand. Our approach to this was quite literal but no less impactful because of this – simply using quotes and personal stories from service users and volunteers we’d spoken to and who were happy for their stories to be told, and placing these front and centre in the brand.
We used ‘real’ people in the photography as opposed to professional models and photographed them in real situations and scenarios. We were looking for an honest, human connection rather then anything overly styled or photoshopped.
With the essentials of the brand in place, we were able to bring it to life both online and in print – creating a range of distinctive marketing collateral and a brand new, people-centred website.
The result was a brand with a heart.
One that not only reflected the charity’s great work, but could act as a focal point for bringing an otherwise fragmented organisation together.
A new brand and website opened up Sova’s work to a much wider audience, meaning even more people can seek the practical advice and support they need to build better lives. And that Sova’s work can enjoy a well-deserved place in the spotlight from now on.