Leveraging the visual language of fashion brand to connect this amazing not-for-profit to a new generation of supporters.
Our launch of the new brand identity for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) has taken us on a journey inspired by a client with a powerful vision for the brand with a new Millennial audience as a focus.
OCRF is a not-for-profit organisation founded and led by the dynamic Liz Heliotis (CEO) and eminent gynaecological oncology specialist, Chairman/Co-Founder Associate Professor Thomas Jobling (Chairman). Together as a team they have done an incredible job at building profile, support and momentum into researching this terrible for of cancer.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women. The challenge is that with no early detection tests, the disease is often only picked-up at an advanced stage, resulting in the highest mortality rate of all cancers. OCRF’s vision is to raise awareness and develop a test for early detection to significantly improve the outcomes and survival rates for patients.
As an orgaisation with a ten year history, the OCRF brand has evolved organically without strategic planning. The brand had developed a ‘silver ribbon’ visual asset – a variation on the other coloured ribbons that have become synonymous with cancer charities. The problem is that the silver colour alone did not provide any genuine differentiation in the crowded ‘charity ribbon’ landscape. We had to develop a new silver ribbon asset the brand could own.
The most powerful brand asset developed to date was an alignment with fashion. Through OCRF Founder; Liz’s passion for fashion, the brand had forged relationships with L’Oreal (introducing them to high profile fashion talent such as Megan Gale who is a brand ambassador) and Witchery, who partner them in their annual fund raising event; White Shirt Day.
Whilst these relationships provide the OCRF brand with a fresh and stylish image, there was no brand strategy or brand story underpinning this approach and these relationships. Nor was there any consistency between the brand identity and these fashion brand activations. We were engaged to develop the brand strategy behind this vision that weaves these threads into a cohesive brand.
In our experience, there is no category as crowded and competitive as the not-for-profit sector. Even withing particular areas such as cancer (and even ovarian cancer) there are often multiple local and National organisations, all doing great work, but also all competing for brand awareness, loyalty and support. We know from our experience working in the sector how critical it is to have a clear brand proposition around ‘what you do’, ‘why it’s important’, and ‘what supporters can do to make a difference’.
A large part of our task was to align the activities of the brand under one cohesive identity in order to capture the potential awareness being generated by their high profile activities and transform that into awareness of the brand and the importance of developing an early detection test for ovarian cancer. The great challenge for brands in this category is to stand out when everyone has a greater purpose and an emotionally charged ‘reason for being’. Form our early conversations we identified the national White Shirt Day and network of high profile fashion personalities as a key asset to build brand differentiation upon. More importantly, these assets tied-in with a strong philosophy of recognizing and celebrating the vitality and strength of women with ovarian cancer. The OCRF philosophy is founded on the belief that “the terrible impact of ovarian cancer should not define those who are affected by it – that having ovarian cancer is no reason to not celebrate life, to not enjoy wearing beautiful clothes, spending time with wonderful friends and eating amazing food”. The focus of the brand needed to be about celebrating life, not making the disease the hero.
At the heart of our brand strategy was the powerful truth that one woman dies every 10 hours from ovarian cancer. This simple brand truth, supported by the key message; ‘this could be your mother, wife, sister, friend or daughter’ has become the cornerstone of OCRF’s brand communication. The brand’s belief system is communicated through two more key messages; ‘celebrate lives, save lives’ and ‘research is the answer’.
“The brand now has consistent, clear and powerful messages across various OCRF campaigns, ensuring they are relevant, compelling and provide clear direction for people to respond,” says Michael Hughes, Strategy Director and Partner, Truly Deeply. “The brand also has a flexible messaging system that enables OCRF to maximise their high profile campaigns and tie them back into their core brand messaging to drive clear understanding and actions for their cause.”
The OCRF brand identity had focused previously on the imagery of a silver ribbon. Our audit of the marketplace identified the ribbon to be so commonly used that it had lost it’s power to differentiate. And whilst silver is a unique brand colour, in many applications it is seen as grey, or colourless.
With the silver ribbon as a brand asset that had been invested-in over a decade, we believed the brand equity tied-up in the symbolism was too valuable to ignore. As a result the brand design strategy was centered around creating a more unique and ownable version of the ribbon, and developing a strong palette of visual language to connect the elements of style and fashion, with the message of celebrating life and saving lives.
We re-designed the ribbon, keeping the ‘looped’ shape that is synonymous with all of the not-for-profit ribbon brands, but simplifying it into an elegant, refined brand mark. This approach captures both the professional, scientific basis of the brand’s work as well as the fashion feel that underpins their philosophy and brand campaigns.
“The OCRF brand identity sits equally comfortably on a scientific report, as it does next to fashion icons like Megan Gale,” says David Ansett, Chief Creative and Founder, Truly Deeply. “The core design element of the new identity is typography; using a clean, contemporary typeface, ‘force stacked’ to create visual drama. The strong, style-driven type is ‘pinned’ to a disc featuring our contemporary and refined version of the silver ribbon,” added Ansett.
The result is a new palette of visual language for the OCRF brand that sits as comfortably on a Government research report as it does at the heart of the White Shirt Day campaign.
To start we carried-out a market review and developed a sharper brand proposition and a brand strategy that wove together the disparate, but separately understood threads of the brand into a cohesive platform. We used that new platform to develop a set of key brand messages and the brief for OCRF’s new brand identity design. The brand identity was applied to stationery, web site look and feel, advertising templates and brand identity usage guidelines.
OCRF were over the moon with the clarity provided by their new brand strategy and the impact of their new brand identity design. Feedback from key stakeholders has been overwhelmingly positive.
Liz Heliotis, CEO and Co Founder of OCRF says, “The new brand is strong, stylish and compelling and applauds the strength, courage and dignity that many display (and their families) daily in their journey with this dreadful disease. Working with the committed and talented team at Truly Deeply has been a mentally invigorating and rewarding experience. They’ve made the intangible, tangible and empowering in this crowded arena. Their narrative distils hope and optimism that equates to better futures for all.” Heliotis added.
“It is not often in business that you can find partners who match your enthusiasm, passion and energy to continue this vital research and when you do that outcomes can be extraordinary. The Truly Deeply experience was like visiting a concentrated inspiring knowledge bank; just brilliant yet demanding that truth emerge. I am so proud to have had this opportunity and to have their ‘advocacy’ for this vital research message,” concluded Heliotis.
To find out more about ovarian cancer and the work OCRF does, visit ocrf.com.au