Introduction: Representing Australia’s federated state-based organisations, Guide Dogs Australia is the largest provider of Guide Dogs across the nation and it has grown to become one of Australia’s most loved and trusted brands.
Nowadays, Guide Dogs’ portfolio of services has expanded to include much more than dogs. The organisation provides a wide range of services that support people living with low vision or blindness, from Orientation and Mobility Services to Occupational Therapy, Peer Support and Connection Services, Therapy Dogs and more.
These essential services are delivered to those in need – from newborn to ninety – regardless of their access to funding. As a result, people who are blind or have low vision can gain the freedom and independence they need to move through life and connect with communities around them.
Challenge: In an increasingly competitive landscape, Guide Dogs needed their brand to evolve to stay ahead of the market and maintain their leadership position. In a sector that has to fight for every single dollar, the Guide Dogs brand must work twice as hard to give the organisation a clear and compelling competitive advantage, whether it’s pitching for grants, communicating the value of donations, or retaining and attracting the best talent.
Historically the organisation had taken a state-based approach but, in a rapidly changing and increasingly crowded market, Guide Dogs needed a connected and consistent brand to work as a national force. With the power of unity, they could reach more Clients and more donors, more effectively. In creating greater clarity and impact through their brand, Guide Dogs could build a framework for growth and innovation in their portfolio of services, while still retaining its status as a loved and trusted brand.
Solution: In the absence of a unifying purpose, FutureBrand first set about unearthing the single trait that ties each of the states together – something that clearly states, ‘this is who we are’. Applying a sprint-based methodology, we brought together employees from around Australia and representatives from the community the brand serves for an intensive strategic review. We explored the full range of issues and opportunities, with a focus on tangible outcomes delivered through rigorous and rapid thinking. From Clients and donors to employees and referrers, our in-depth stakeholder engagement process was critical to ensuring we created a brand that could stretch across audiences, and balance national scale with local authenticity.
Respecting the equity that had been built into the brand’s greatest asset – the Guide Dog – we revealed that it actually stood for much more. By using the Guide Dog as a symbol to reflect the brand’s inherent traits – of trust, empathy, independence, companionship and connection – it could be amplified as an iconic and critical motivator for donors, volunteers, employees and the community.
Just as a Guide Dog helps Clients and their support network find their way to freedom and independence, the unified brand would show there’s more than one way to find your way in the world. With this insight, we developed a brand architecture model that puts Clients at the heart, taking an outside-in approach to organising the portfolio of services.
Our brand idea, ‘Find your way’, now allows Guide Dogs to talk to all of their stakeholder groups. While for Clients it’s about the connection a Guide Dog or other services provide; for donors it’s about finding a way to leave their legacy, and for employees it’s to find a way to make a real difference.
The idea served as the platform for all creative expression and the brand experience at large. In removing the Guide Dog from the logomark, the brand now has the flexibility and accessibility to address a broader audience and service offering. A bright and optimistic colour palette is supported by directional graphic patterns, which add a sense of energy and movement across all branded touchpoints. What’s more, a new direction on photography celebrates the sense of achievement found in everyday moments and the richness of human connection.
Results: Not only did the brand project facilitate unity across the states, it also strengthened and future-proofed the Guide Dogs brand strategy and visual identity for generations to come. The new brand puts Clients at the heart, empowering Guide Dogs to step out into the world as a beacon of joy and opportunity for Australians living with low vision or blindness.
“I salute FutureBrand for the outstanding work they delivered. The team worked tirelessly to thoroughly research and understand the goals we have for the Guide Dogs brand. This diligence to detail and strong stakeholder management practice is reflected in the beautiful new visual identity and the overwhelmingly positive support we have received for the final product. We look forward to continuing our partnership with FutureBrand as we begin the rollout process,” said Charlie Spendlove, Head of Marketing & Communications Centre of Excellence, Guide Dogs VIC NSW/ACT.
- Agency/Creative: FutureBrand Australia
- Article Title: Guide Dogs Brand Transformation by FutureBrand Australia
- Organisation/Entity: Agency, Published Commercial Design
- Project Type: Identity
- Project Status: Published
- Agency/Creative Country: Australia
- Market Region: Oceania
- Project Deliverables: Brand Architecture, Brand Creation, Brand Guidelines, Brand Identity, Brand Redesign, Brand Rejuvenation, Brand Strategy, Branding, Graphic Design, Identity System, Illustration, Rebranding
- Keywords: brand identity, brand strategy, brand architecture, accessibility, guide dogs