Should RNID have re-branded?

On Tuesday RNID announced that they are to go through a £260,000 rebrand next June and will become known as Action on Hearing Loss.

The charity says that the change is to reflect that they work with people with differing levels of hearing loss, not deafness alone. Third Sector reported that: Jackie Ballard, its chief executive, said the new name “had more relevance and more reach”. She conceeded that some profoundly deaf people would be upset about losing the word ‘deaf’ from the name. (remember the trouble the Parkinsons UK had with its name change….did RNID consult its stakeholders I wonder?)

The name change, according to Jackie Ballard  (again quoted in Third Sector) came about as a result of  research on a new brand identity last year. This research showed that it was not as well known as other major charities, such as the NSPCC, Oxfam and the British Red Cross, and was frequently confused with other charities.

But when your research proposition is to look at a new brand identity, are you not going to come to those kinds of conclusions?

The charity will use the new name “Action on hearing loss” as a tagine until the re-brand. I just wonder would a tagline have been enough on its own to explain their new relevance?

I can think of lots of organisations, for profit and not for profit, that have names that dont necessarily immediately allow me to understand what they do. But they dont all rebrand. They choose other ways to tell people about what they do.

I do wish them the best of luck with this, don’t get me wrong, and I am all for charities spending money on communicating their message. I just wonder is a rebrand always the way to go?


4 thoughts on “Should RNID have re-branded?

  1. It’s an interesting one – they need to reach out to an audience that they’re not really engaging with as best they could, but at the risk of perhaps causing feelings of abandonment in their older or deaf supporters? And a rebrand during difficult financial times is often going to be looked upon negatively by supporters and the public – but I suppose they are looking at the long term picture rather than the here and now?

    From what I saw through the process, they did consult stakeholders through their forums, publications and a live chat on Twitter too where Jackie Ballard answered questions (they used #rnidlivechat I believe, if you wanted to try and search for it).

    For me, RNID was always a pretty strong brand, but I am not necessarily a supporter or beneficiary.

  2. Hello, I’m Chris, senior PR officer at RNID. We knew the name change would cause much discussion within the deaf and hard of hearing community, so we’ve put together a Q&A, which we hope will answer many people’s questions. In relation to the posts here, we found from our research that there was a tiny minority who actually recognised the brand RNID, so it became very obvious that we needed to change. The link to the Q&A is here:
    Our chief executive Jackie Ballard is also holding a social media Q&A next Friday October 15. She will be fielding questions posted on our website, Facebook and Twitter feed. We’ll be releasing details of how to get involved in the next couple of days, but we promise that she’ll be answering as many as possible – even the bad ones!

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for coming on here to comment. To me thats a great sign…you are listening and you are engaging in the conversations. And it sounds like your CEO will also be engaging with people next Friday.

      I know you did some research, but do you see where Im coming from about just creating a great tag line? (it seems to have formed part of your transition plan)

      Thanks for the comment


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