Vivienne Francis, Director of Marketing and External Affairs, reflects on the past year since Alzheimer’s Society’s new brand identity.
It is a year today since we launched our new, engaging brand, as part of our desire to ‘turn up the volume’ on dementia and to engage more people.
We are adding a new word to the lexicon, and celebrating our ‘brandiversary’. It is a good point at which to reflect on the year that has been, and how dementia has been increasingly on the radar. We have seen more people joining the movement for change, helped along by our new, bolder approach.
A powerful identity
A year ago, we unveiled our fresh identity. Our logo brought together the heritage of the forget-me-not symbol with graffitied design elements to imbue it with new power. It has a sense of the revolution people with dementia were telling us is needed.
We also created a new colour palette, based on pop art, and introduced slogans redolent of placards. We built everything around the concept of ‘united against dementia’. A year on from launch, this has become so much more than a strapline, or a set of words. It is an ethos, a nod to our position as the rallying point of the dementia movement.
As well as embedding it through all that we do as a Society – from building global networks of researchers to campaigning to fix dementia care – our supporters have also embraced the concept. There is a sense of ownership, with people regularly using the #unitedagainstdementia hashtag. This was created as part of our advertising campaign to launch the brand, as part of expressing what people have done to support the movement, on social media.
These visual elements have gone a very long way to create a brand with instant and compelling recognition and cut through. Our fabulous Memory Walks were transformed on the ground. The sea of blue, as people proudly wore our new T-shirts, was a powerful sight. It seemed indicative of people’s increased desire to come together and do something to change the dementia landscape for ever. They have also taken us to new places, to build upon our existing work in communities. Our revamped roadshow did not look out of place at Latitude festival. There we engaged with hundreds of people who had concerns about dementia. Taking the brand, and the cause to where people are already gathering, is an impactful way for us to connect.
Our strong strategy
Rewarding though it is to see us build visual recognition, it is, perhaps, the fact that we have changed what we do, and the tone of it, which is the true testament to the brand doing its job.
We launched our new strategy, ‘The New Deal on Dementia’, last year too. Our ambition is as bold as our brand. We want to reach everyone with a dementia diagnosis, unlock the answers through increased research investment and uphold the rights of people with dementia to ensure they live the lives they choose.
Our brand, and the new values we created alongside it, are already underpinning the strategy and helping us to achieve more, from campaigning on social care to building our income and creating dementia friendly communities.
Our annual conference last year was such a defining moment and great example of the brand in action. We united influencers and researchers together to say we want a new dawn for people with dementia. It is also helping us to increase our reach, and to tell our story.
This video, which shows Peter Lyttle’s experiences of dementia, and the impact of our services on his life, has been the most successful we have ever made. It reached more than 250,000 people on Facebook alone in one day.
The brand is also helping us to recruit more people to the cause, who can use their influence to help us really unite against dementia and bring change across a broken health system, a legacy of under investment in research and breaking down stigma.
Our new Ambassador, comedian David Baddiel, is a great example of someone using their position to shift the dialogue on dementia, in a fresh and compelling way. His documentary about his father’s experiences of Pick’s Disease, screened on Channel 4, and his stage show, had a combination of pathos and humour. By speaking out and drawing attention to dementia, and the work of the Society, in a new way, we are living the ambition to unite and speak loudly about dementia.
New partners are also coming on board. We are working with Channel 4, who liked the synergy between our two brands, on how we change the way that dementia is portrayed in the broadcasting industry. They created idents showing our brand, which reached millions of people, as part of a unique link up with ITV. These are partnerships and territories we may not have reached before we rebranded.
There is no greater compliment than people with dementia using, and liking, the brand. One of our ambassadors who is living with dementia commented upon a new initiative, saying:
This is, in my opinion, a fantastic way forward… It goes hand in hand with the new branding – us being more proactive and just engaging with people and helping them to know what little things we can all do.”
– Alzheimer’s Society ambassador who is living with dementia
That’s my proudest brand moment. To have this identity owned by people with dementia, as part of a movement for change, will be its greatest achievement.