To support ambitious growth objectives, charity Career Ready appointed IE Brand to launch a new name, brand, visual identity and website.
Career Ready is a UK wide charity that opens up the world of work to young people through a structured programme of employer engagement. The new brand needed to reflect the charity’s transformative, partnership approach and appeal to schools, employers and students alike.
A significant body of anecdotal evidence pointed to a problem with the charity’s name, 'Career Academies UK' (CAUK).
The name was causing confusion with academy schools, was often misspelt and mispronounced, and didn’t reflect the charity’s work. This confusion was well recognised, including by trustees.
CAUK conducted a series of interviews with all stakeholders, which supported the case for a change of name, and a wider review of the brand. They found that people did not recognise from the name that it was a charity, and it was felt that the tone of voice, messaging and visual identity were confused, overly formal and lacked the energy and enthusiasm of the programmes.
Following a period of immersion, IE Brand used the evidence from the listening exercise to define the mission for the new brand:
"To better reflect our values, personality and ambition, to gain more awareness among new and existing stakeholders and encourage more schools and supporters to work with us."
We set about defining what a new name needed to achieve and identified a longlist of c.100 names, which was shortlisted to six strong contenders. IE’s eventual recommendation, Career Ready, was a hidden gem. It was already in use with one of the charity’s successful programmes – soon to be phased out – so this positive association was helpful in obtaining buy-in.
The name made sense to all stakeholders and was agreed as the perfect identity to take the charity forward. The Career Ready name perfectly encapsulates the work of the organisation, while being shorter, simpler and more memorable. It’s aspirational for staff, funders and students alike, and represents not just the organisation, but the ultimate outcome of their work.
IE Brand repositioned Career Ready as an agent of change, enabling social mobility and promoting opportunity.
Clearer messaging for the proposition to core and secondary audiences enables partners and staff to communicate on brand, on message and with an accessible tone of voice.
We held workshops with staff to support their understanding of the new messaging, including challenging them to identify phrases from the new and old website. That was crucial in shifting understanding to how positive the change would be.
The new Career Ready icon represents the overlap between students and volunteers and the partnership between schools and businesses.
The photographic style became more immersive, showing candid close ups of highly engaged students, rather than lines of students in suits.
The new visual identity and name also allows the flexibility to be applied to co-branded partner programmes and “products”. A number of resources were created to help schools, colleges and employers implement the new brand – including templates, logos, brand guidelines and best practice examples.
Some long-standing school and college partners expressed uncertainty about the changes.
But regular communication, ongoing requests for feedback and the resources developed to support them, helped to win hearts and minds. Students also took part in the process, including a competition on Twitter to choose the design of our new badge.
The initial brand relaunch had to be completed in just three months to coincide with the start of a major series of national roadshows that would significantly raise the charity’s profile. Despite the tight time frames, Career Ready was born on target and within budget, with a look and feel to match its 21st century programme. The charity is now nationally recognised as a leader in the employer engagement field.
Following the rebrand, IE Digital was appointed to develop a bespoke digital platform to attract employers and volunteers, and provide the information and tools to allow Career Ready to manage and evaluate the programme.
This reduced the admin overhead per applicant by 80%, by automating a whole host of unwieldy manual processes. The work was shortlisted for “Best use of the web” at the Charity Times Awards.
IE continues to support Career Ready with marketing collateral, design and brand work, as well as ad hoc digital projects as they arise.