30 July 2015
Very Special Kids (VSK) is a children’s charity that assists more than 900 families. The NFP has been providing free-of-charge support services and hospice for children who are suffering life-threatening conditions for the last 30 years.
Early in 2014, Marketing and Communications Manager Daniel Petrillo and MIH kicked off a collaborative relationship that would lead to a complete NFP re-brand, a new website, logo and fundraising support.
Fifteen months on we caught up with Daniel to check-in on how things were progressing.
About Very Special Kids
As a children’s charity VSK receives 30% of its funding from the Victorian Government; the other 70% is raised through targeted events and fundraising campaigns such as the well-known Piggy Bank Appeal and a full calendar of fundraising events and activities. With approximately 60 full-time and part-time employees, a fully equipped hospice and a range of professional services needed to coordinate these delicate operations; it’s easy to see why building brand and improving fundraising efforts are so important.
Losing your brand identity 30 Years On
Joining 3 years ago, Daniel was greeted with a fantastic organisation that hadn’t looked at or reviewed its brand, and logo for almost three decades. Additionally, there was an issue with the one of the primary events completely overshadowing the charity; a disconnect or lack of recognition existed between the event and the charity brand and purpose. While the publicity and interest was fantastic, Daniel recognised the need to take back control of the brand and its very important identity.
Internal and external assessment identified brand identity was lacking in consistency across the board. Brand look and feel was missing a consistent colour palette with red and yellow used on the corporate side, while pink and yellow utilised and largely connected via the popular Piggy Bank Appeal. Additionally, internal staff were continuously producing their own support documents and collateral for events; with affiliated professionals often adding their own flair to documents using clip-Art and ad-hoc Google Images.
It was time to reassert the brand in a unique way.
New brand, new start
Collaborating to identify the essence of a fantastic charity, the MIH creative team then undertook a complete brand refresh of VSK including the pro-bono creation and design of a new logo. This forged a new brand identity, involving the use of four bright and compatible colours for the NFP to convey a more approachable image.
The new brand was also rolled out across a wide range of print-based assets – including corporate communications, print assets, wayfinding signage, and apparel.
Finally, MIH redeveloped the VSK website on a responsive WordPress platform to provide the client with an intuitive CMS that allowed them to manage their own content.
Wholeheartedly, the new brand, has been successfully received by consumers, stakeholders and staff. Brand consistency across all communications has strengthened VSK’s image and has also resulted with greater fundraising success with this financial year set to raise up to $4.6 million, a significant increase on the last two financial years at $4.1, and $3.3 consecutively.
Daniel names the new look website as having the greatest impact on fundraising efforts experiencing greater traffic and fundraising leads. It also allows VSK to measure visitors to their site, clearly connects the hierarchy of the brands and sub-brands and allows the VSK internal team to update content in a timely and reactive-fast manner.
“Our new website translated into increased visitation and revenue. In particular, the news and event feature items on the homepage provide greater exposure for our fundraising activities. The content management system is extremely user-friendly and multiple members of our team have the confidence to upload content and images, as the system is so easy to use,” Daniel said.
But the biggest benefit of the re-branding thus far from his perspective, comes in the form of flexibility. The colour range, selected fonts and logos mean that it is easier to produce fully aligned, professional events and materials as required.
This flexibility has also spilled into internal teams feeling more empowered to produce their own support materials pulling from a fully interactive Internal Style Guide. The guide includes tips, templates and guidelines that influence greater design while remaining ‘on brand’.
Having an engaged and supported internal team means that the marketing team of two spend less time fighting fires, and more time in other areas of the business.
“MIH developed a suite of icons and illustrated graphics that are used in both our professionally-designed artwork as well as our internally-created materials. Having these tools available allows all staff members to create their own documents that are on brand, such as presentations, flyers, fact sheets and newsletters. This reduces the reliance on the marketing team to redesign internal documents and frees up more time to focus on promoting external fundraising initiatives,” Daniel said.
Challenges for NFP & where to from here?
Daniel credits the challenge to “cut through” the saturation of charities out there – all seeking support – as the biggest difficulty facing NFPs. Finding effective new ways to provide message links through fundraising information is paramount. The team is looking to undertake a brand research project to more thoroughly determine how their brand is received.
Other important work includes the design of an awareness campaign targeting GPs and medical practitioners.