Rhian Williams explains how we’ve updated our image to more accurately reflect that we help adults and children with all stages of sight loss and not just ‘blind’ people.
We are one of the oldest charities in Northamptonshire having been around for nearly 120 years. An incredible about has changed over that time including around disabilities of all nature.
In our area of expertise – visual impairment – the official terminology describing certifiable sight loss that meet the criteria for registration has changed from “blind” to “severely sight impaired” and from “partially sighted” to “sight impaired.” But our name still has the word ‘blind’ in it and we help people with all stages of sight loss. So perhaps understandably some of our service-users, staff and trustees didn’t think our name was accurate anymore.
Over the Summer in 2018 we carried out an extensive consultation about our name and received over 600 responses – 300 from our service users. Should we change our name to drop the word ‘blind’? We had already decided that in order to take such a significant decision, with the associated costs, we would need a very clear mandate from our service-users that we should go ahead.
Although three quarters of our service users said they didn’t describe themselves as blind, only 34% of them thought we should change our name, mainly citing the cost as the key reason. Among the general public around 60% of respondents recognised us as ‘NAB’ and understood what we did as a charity – that we help people with all stages of sight loss and not just ‘blind’ people.
But this left 40% of the general public who were unclear about the scope of our help. Furthermore, when we asked people in the Eye Clinics at both Northampton and Kettering General Hospitals, some people had never heard of us or thought we couldn’t help them as “they weren’t blind”. The Eye Clinics are, understandably, a key source of referrals to our service so ensuring our message is correct at this ‘touch-point’ is absolutely critical.
So it was clear that we needed to do more to accurately reflect we help people with all stages of sight loss and ensure we don’t put people off contacting us as they aren’t ‘blind’. We wanted to do this in the most cost effective way possible to enable us to roll-out a refreshed brand over time and prevent us having to, for example, re-wrap our Mobile Sight Centre at great cost.
We made the decision to keep our name on official documentation – for example on our annual report and accounts – but to relegate it into the background and use our acronym ‘NAB’ with a new strapline. We also developed a succinct, standardised, way of describing what NAB does in a new “positioning statement” shown here:
Here you can see the culmination of that work and our new strapline “Sight support for Northamptonshire” with our refreshed logo that makes it even clearer that we are the eye experts! You will see this gradually roll-out over the next 6 months when we need to update materials and produce new ones, and it will be on our new website launching in May 2019. And our immediate priority are new information boards in the Eye Clinics.