Winner of North East Marketing Award Brand Creation of the Year 2019
County Durham Housing Group planned to consolidate all its brands in 2019 to relaunch as one legal entity. This would streamline internal processes and budgeting but also provide one strong, consistent external facing brand for tenants, homeowners, landlords, suppliers, partners, funders and staff. The added challenge for this project was the timeline; the project had to be ready to launch in just 12 weeks.
The Group wanted to break the mould; and rather than being perceived as a housing provider of those in need, they wanted to be positioned as a housing provider of choice. There is an ageing customer demographic for social housing, and so the new brand had to keep those customers engaged and satisfied, whilst also attract new audiences for their diverse initiatives such as Rent to Buy schemes.
The senior management team was looking for something inspirational which would better resonate with all stakeholders than a staid corporate image. The brand had to align with the organisation’s vision of ‘a life without barriers’.
‘Believe’ was chosen as the new brand name following workshops with staff, the leadership team and the Board as the verb is a core part of the Group’s mission and vision. The identity was created to be inclusive, fun, professional, vibrant and distinctive in the market – all elements requested in the brief.
In terms of deliverables, this is the largest rebrand project Narrative has worked on to date. Managing hundreds of individual tasks, we worked alongside the believe team to formulate a system which would allow us to easily keep track of all projects and ensure that all collateral was completed ahead of deadline including a coded system and use of cloud-based project management tool Basecamp.
Marketing collateral included everything from large items such as site signage and vehicle livery to day-to-day items like letterhead and business cards.
A new online presence was required. It needed to be future-proof and easy for the in-house team to keep up to date so that once the project was completed, the site was sustainable to manage without frequent external supplier support. Alongside advanced search, an events calendar, news/vacancy functionality and an online estate agent page, we developed a database integration to allow multiple systems to work together cohesively, saving the internal time and resources. Thorough testing was undertaken to ensure compatibility with a range of internet browsers relevant to the target audience.
Once the site was live, we asked 100 people in the North East whether they thought the website was distinctive from other housing providers and 65% said yes. We also asked them which adjectives they would use to describe the site and 1 in 2 said positive, friendly and professional. 1 in 3 said fun.
Responses to the new branding have been overwhelmingly positive with both staff and customers, and Narrative has been engaged to carry out a large number of additional jobs following the initial project which has been a great opportunity to see the brand come to life, and to grow relationships with the internal team.
We asked 100 people in the organisation’s target market to rate the new brand with attributes from a multiple choice list. 60% thought the brand was positive, 55% thought it was vibrant, approachable and modern. Less than 5% thought it was boring, exclusive or similar to other housing brands.
We also worked collaboratively with believe’s internal teams in order to ensure positive press and social media coverage of the rebrand.
Jill Ancrum, communications manager at Believe Housing, said: “You guys have made this process so much easier. You just totally got it.”