CRUK are the best fundraising charity in the UK. Since their merger in 2002 they've massively increased their fundraising income and become one of the best known and most respected charities in the country.
Their income peaked at a massive £515m in 2010 before dropping to £497m last year. They've led the way with events like Race for Life, groundbreaking direct marketing and other fundraising innovation.
That's why I was shocked when I read last weekthat they are going to spend £680,000 on a rebrand.
The aim is to boost fundraising and to give the organisation a warmer tone. So what are the arguments for and against making such a bold move?
The case for fundraising bravery
After 10 years CRUK might be at the peak of it's brand and product lifecycle (the recent stagnation of income would back this up) and so it might feel that it needs to refresh it's image if it is grow further.
Image from Innovation
As the image above suggests, by making this bold move now CRUK will hope to move from maturity and decline into growth.
The second factor is that competition for charitable funds is stronger than ever and so by standing still (in terms of brand) other charities are closing the gap on them and threaten their position in the market.
Finally, CRUK say that their research shows that people are unsure of the role of the charity and that the old logo is bland and not relevant to them. They hope the new look will change this and will make them more relevant.
The case for fundraising suicide
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. CRUK's fundraising may be flat, but that's understandable in the worst double-dip recession in memory. CRUK's current brand has worked fabulously well for a decade now and is etched in the British conscience. Why risk that brand equity for a new approach that people might take years to recognise and warm to?
One of the things I most like about CRUK's current branding and messaging is that it is very clear and concrete about what their aim is: Together we can beat cancer
The proposed new messaging includes phrasing like 'Our progress is your progress' and 'Bringing forward the day when all cancers can be cured' is clunky and uninspiring in comparison.
Finally, rebrands are notoriously difficult to implement and can backfire spectaularly. You only need to look at Consignia, Monday, Tropicana etc to see the risks involved. By investing so heavily in a major rebrand they could take their eye off the ball and face a backlash from donors.
CRUK have a history over the last decade of being at the forefront of fundraising development and innovation and have experienced massive growth in that time. Yet I believe this one of the biggest risks they have taken. Their brand is respected and loved and by moving away from it they risk a major fall in income whilst the general public become accustomed to the new look. If I was one of their competitors then I would be rejoicing.
I wish CRUK well and hope I am mistaken, but I worry that this decision could have a negative impact on their fundraising over the next three years. Time will tell if I'm correct.
I'd love to know your thoughts on the rebrand and the impact it will have on CRUK's fundraising...
Innocent, GAP, Consignia, PWC