Young at Heart

Action for Children is one of the UK’s largest children’s charities. The charity’s 7,000 staff and volunteers operate over 522 services, improving the lives of 301,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers every year.

In October 2018, Action for Children appointed Agency ASHA to develop a clear, simple and engaging expression of who they are, what they do and the positive solutions they bring to families and children across the UK.

The new brand would be launched to coincide with Action for Children’s 150th anniversary.

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Charity sector 

Family values

A pragmatic, hands-on approach characterises the way Action for Children works and this inspired ASHA to create the concept ‘We Are Family’ as an internal driving idea to help shape the new brand strategy and positioning.

“It’s a simple statement of truth that expresses the essence of who they are and how they work. This sense of family permeates throughout the organisation through its staff and all its services. It’s unique to the organisation. It’s what sets Action for Children apart. This concept was the foundation for the creation of a distinctive tone of voice, a series of defining brand principles, the new brand signature and icon”

Marksteen Adamson – Agency ASHA

To reflect this unique family sense, we developed principles for a new tone of voice that is warm, straightforward and relevant when identifying products and services using language that seeks to engage with people as they would a member of their own family.

“It’s really important that we’re able to talk about our work in the same voice. It’s much warmer, much friendlier.  We can talk to corporate partners. We can talk to government. We can talk to mums and dads. We can talk to carers. We can talk to children and young people.”

Nick Jones – Managing Director of Fundraising, Communications and Policy – Action for Children

Foundations to thrive

After an extensive audit of all the organisation’s UK services and online and offline communications, ASHA rationalised the vast array of existing collateral into eight activity areas and 16 service areas. To make it easier for services to access and use; branded templates for all communications requirements have been created and hosted on an internal portal allowing local services to create ‘on-brand’ materials according to specific local needs.

A headline font: Appetite, was chosen specifically for its friendly character. Its distinctive look and feel means communications can be created cohesively across a wide range of messaging requirements, helping to bring the 500+ services across the country together as part of one big, united family.

The organisation’s name presented a challenge for ASHA as it is also a statement. The solution was to create a signature set within a playful star shape to reflect the warm, friendly and accessible character of the organisation. This icon is recognisable from a distance and can sit on a wide range of colours, photography and illustration. This solution has liberated the organisation to create communications with flexibility, vibrancy and variety.

Reaching further

Action for Children works across three core areas: Intervention, Prevention and Advocacy. In creating a new colour palette, ASHA established two master colours to provide a positive spectrum which could encompass this wide range. From the work it does when dealing with children in crisis to the hope it gives with their care, wisdom and advocacy. Warm Red is used to evoke Action, while Sunshine Yellow conveys Impact and Optimism. A supporting colour palette has been created to give more variety and creative possibilities to the organisation’s many communications.

“We want to change the world for children, so I’m really proud of our advocacy work at the forefront of campaigning in the Children’s sector. Our advocacy work is about using our policy and campaigns to reach many more children than we currently work with directly”

Imran Hussain – Director of Policy and Campaigns Action for Children

To help the organisation communicate more authentically the challenges that many children face, a suite of curated photography was introduced. In addition, a new, softer illustration style was also developed for the creation of information graphics. These basic elements have been brought together in flagship communications such as website, signage and in key documents such as the Westminster advocacy report and internal brand book and brand film.

Pass it on

To launch the brand internally while maximising external impact, ASHA identified a series of carefully chosen items that would be given to staff. These items all have a positive message that conveys the personality of the brand, whilst also relating to the product use itself. ‘Keep it fresh’ is printed on the water bottle, ‘Heart warming’ on branded mugs and the tote bag is ‘Good to go.’

The purpose of these branded products is to enable everyone in the organisation to carry the brand wherever they go, at work, in town and at home. The staff have always been the brand and by wearing and using relevant branded items externally they also become the perfect visible brand ambassadors.’

Marksteen Adamson – Agency ASHA

Extensive brand Identity work has been done by ASHA on the overall brand strategy, corporate identity and communications collateral since appointment. However, the logo itself was donated to the organisation free of charge as part of a bigger donation by the Agency, demonstrating its commitment to the great work that Action for Children does.