When and how should a charity rebrand?

We talked to The Hive’s CEO Katie Jennings about why she chose to rebrand the charity.

Tell us about The Hive, the work you do and your background.

The Hive is a community arts charity, based in Shrewsbury and working across Shropshire and Telford. We run creative projects, primarily with children and young people in challenging circumstances.

The Hive runs a venue in central Shrewsbury and hosts gigs, events, workshops and talks. Our vision as a charity arts organisation is to transform lives through creativity.

the hive signage

How has the charity changed, if at all?

The Hive is and always will be an ever-evolving organisation. We have to change with the times and funding circumstances and ensure that we’re responding to the needs of our local community and the groups of children and young people our charity is working with. The Hive is both a charity and a venue which makes us unique but also can be a challenge to communicate. As a result, having a flexible brand is vital to our success.

What challenges have you faced as a charity?

Funding! Also, identity - being understood; it has been challenging for people to understand that we are a charity and a venue; we run projects with disadvantaged children and young people, and we run a venue, but we’re not for profit. This can be confusing and trying to communicate this clearly through our marketing and branding has been an ongoing challenge.
This is why we started the process of going through a rebrand and choosing a branding studio to work with.

What is the overall aim of The Hive and how do you engage with your team, patrons and target audience?

The Hive’s Vision is to transform lives through creativity
The Hive’s Mission is to inspire meaningful change through creative experiences in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin

The Hive’s Strategic priorities:

1. To pioneer high-quality creative activities.
2. To showcase the impact of creativity on health and well-being.
3. To create an inspiring, safe and effective organisation

Our charity has a strong presence on social media and helps us to engage with our audiences of all ages. Also, being a community charity, we are fortunate to be situated centrally in Shrewsbury, where many people can drop in and engage with the team. Having a stronger brand identity helps us to have a stronger presence among our own community and within the wider community.

We’re fortunate to have a diverse and complementary skill-set across the team, our freelance workforce and everyone involved in the running of The Hive. We regularly consult with our Creative Advisory Board, Board of Trustees, staff team, patron, customers and audiences so decisions are well informed. We were very happy that GoodThing also encouraged us to approach our rebranding in this way.

the hive brand identity drums

When choosing a creative partner to work with what were your criteria?

GoodThing took the time and effort to understand what the Hive is all about, he spoke to many of our stakeholders and really understood what we wanted to achieve from the new brand. Because the studio is based in Shrewsbury, they had an awareness of the creative work we do, and this was incredibly useful when it came to understanding The Hive and what we do.

They encouraged us to consider the emotions involved in engaging with The Hive; people spoke about the ‘Hive hug’, and how passionate we all are about working with our local communities- especially the most disadvantaged people in our communities.

Also, a significant element of this discussion was about how it feels to walk into our arts centre; feeling like a home, the instant sense of community, welcoming and belonging, the sense of fun that we inject (not taking ourselves too seriously) and having more confidence about the great work we do.

Developing confidence was a major area for development for us, and through consultation and discussion, Warran helped to identify that we needed to project our voice and be bolder about our achievements. We were struggling to do and this brand enables us to do exactly that.

the hive signage

Was it and is it still important to you to have a collaborative approach to getting your brand values into your communications?

Absolutely. We’re a community organisation and we needed as many people as possible to have input and ownership. Ultimately, we were looking to create a brand that our local community; participants, customers, audiences, clients and project partners, could relate to.

GoodThing really encouraged this approach and helped to facilitate discussion around our new brand and the future of The Hive.

It was essential for us to ensure we consulted with our key stakeholders and Warran spent time doing this – both in larger groups and smaller focus groups.

He listened and interpreted their key points/aims and our key message within the brand.

It was so essential for people to be able to get a feel for The Hive from our new brand and it succeeds in delivering bucket loads of character. People feel the love for our brand, which they have never done with any of our previous branding or logos!

Tell us how you came to work with us?

We knew GoodThing through their branding work in the non-profit and charity sector. We also knew of their reputation for getting personal with their clients and helping to bring personality into their brands. It was important to work with like-minded people who shared our values and understood our purpose.

What valuable lessons have you learnt during the rebranding process?

Understanding our target audience and realising our branding can’t be all things to all people. The Hive is a community organisation working with people of all ages through our projects and venue, so this can be a balancing act –– but our branding has to do its best to cater for everyone without trying to be everything.
Even though we have a wide demographic, primarily we work with children and young people and music is our key mechanism/tool, so our brand needed to represent this first and foremost whilst also being flexible enough to not isolate our other users.

GoodThing worked closely with us and helped us to focus on our key values and messages.
Also, we learned the importance of a strong brand, which doesn’t just sit within a logo; Warran helped us all to understand that our brand needs to be conveyed within everything – and how the right brand can evoke a sense of community and confidence we needed.

Subsequently, our new brand conveys all we wanted and needed it to.