Our executive director Morag Arnot reflects on the challenge of rebranding during a pandemic….
In 2020, despite the global health, social and economic crisis, Winning Scotland undertook a brand refresh - new logo, new name, new narrative, new website - it was no small undertaking and I learned a lot from the process.
I’ve been reflecting, as you tend to at this time of year. I was thinking about what was occupying my mind last January. We were in the midst of trying to discover more about our organisation, its perception, positioning and offering. With my background in communications and marketing, this was something which had been an ambition of mine for some time.
Having undertaken research with our present customers and partners earlier in October 2019, in January 2020 Winning Scotland was just about to commission focus groups to start the process of understanding how we were perceived among audiences that didn’t know us.
It was the first formal market research we had commissioned for years.
What’s in a name?
Both pieces of research were important and brought us incredibly valuable insight into how people felt about our name, how they rated our work and why they liked working with us.
One thing that became clear was that our name - Winning Scotland Foundation - was not serving us. The research found that those who didn’t know us had multiple interpretations of this name, and they were unclear about what we did and what our purpose was. This was not a complete surprise and we wanted to address it straight away.
Rebranding in a crisis
To refresh our brand and positioning for both our current and new audiences, we commissioned Rationale, a brand and content agency, to work with us on building our growing reputation in the mindset and education spheres in Scotland.
This was in March just before we were locked down.
Thankfully, we were well-positioned to operate during the pandemic. Our learning platform, where most of our programmes are hosted, was already online. And the wonderful teachers who use it kept learning and developing through the lockdown.
But I felt conflicted. I couldn’t decide - should we halt the rebranding work or see lockdown as an opportunity?
Busying ourselves with concerns about logos and visual identities seemed frivolous at a time which was proving so difficult for so many, but I chose to carry on.
We agreed on our refreshed name - Winning Scotland - and our new logo over a series of Zoom calls with Rationale. And we worked together to reposition our messaging and brand narrative, to move away from our previous associations with sport towards growth mindset and resilience.
So, here we are, with a new website which will integrate with a content hub and a new CRM. We are also developing a new social strategy, having already rebranded the programmes on our new learning platform.
I feel proud of the work we have completed in these difficult times. I did miss the live creative interaction you normally enjoy in these processes, and the celebrations to mark the key milestones. Also not being able to share that experience with my staff - who have never experienced such a process before. As an organisation, we have become much more digitally enabled but I’m so glad we started that journey some years ago.
Want to know more?
Let me know what you think, or get in touch to find out more about how Winning Scotland supports teachers to instil a growth mindset in pupils: morag @winningscotland.org.
This story was originally published on Morag’s LinkedIn page on 20 January 2021.