Highgate Newtown Community Centre (HNCC) had a problem. After years spent successfully providing support and services for the community, they were facing big cuts to their funding from their local authority. They knew that they needed to adjust quickly to the new political reality, and the new funding landscape ahead of them. So they took the decision to develop a brand – something they had never previously had – in order to help them engage more than ever before with their local community.
The challenge for Better Things was to develop a brand identity that would help HNCC build on their existing profile in the local community. The identity would need to continue to reflect the centre’s reputation in the local area for providing affordable and relevant community services and support – resonating with, and not alienating, the centre’s existing user base. But more importantly, the identity needed to lend HNCC the authority it needed to attract volunteers – volunteers that would be the centre’s lifeblood after the funding cuts – and recruit new users from across the incredibly diverse spectrum of the local community.
The upshot of this recruitment of volunteers and new users would be a community centre genuinely at the heart of its community; and a community with a real sense of ownership over their centre.
We started by running a brand workshop session with stakeholders from HNCC – from centre users to volunteers, trustees to members of staff. During the workshop we went through a number of exercises, exploring the centre’s objectives, it’s audience, the competitive space they operate in, and finally their brand – what it means to them and what they want it to mean to the outside world. From this we developed a brand platform and a brand story – the twin foundations for our development of the HNCC brand – and any other communications that HNCC may want to develop.
Based on our twin foundations, we built up a brand with a warmly welcoming feel, and a focus on the people which are the heart and soul of the centre. The brand marque used speech bubbles – to indicate the plethora of voices and diversity of the community, as well as the centre’s role in giving the community a voice and empowering its membership. Creative expression and innovation were important parts of the centre’s day-to-day appeal, and we tried to bring those values through in the identity – especially through the use of the shorter ‘hi’ marque, and a number of social media avatars and backgrounds.
The identity is loose enough to allow creative interpretation across a number of media, but prescriptive enough to ensure a cohesive and identifiable brand.
Oh and we’re currently using the identity to design and develop a website for the guys at HNCC – we’ll post a link on here just as soon as it goes live!