Big Society Capital hires new ad agency to help 'better appeal to our audiences'

Big Society Capital is to overhaul its brand this year in an effort to “re-engineer” how it communicates the benefits of social investing.

A statement from marketing and advertising agency AML group, which has been contracted to deliver the work, says the rebrand aims “to make the mission clear and to encourage investment and participation”.

Set up in 2012 to build the social investment market in the UK, Big Society Capital is revisiting its narrative and visual identity for the first time. The decision to do so was based on “extensive” internal discussions, plus external feedback, according to the social investment wholesaler.

This feedback includes two stakeholder surveys, done in 2016* and in 2018. The latter survey found that among respondents – representing some of its most engaged stakeholders – less than half were aware of Big Society Capital’s full remit. The financial institution has also done additional user-research “to further develop our understanding of what our stakeholders want from [us]”, which is not publicly available.

Big Society Capital did not disclose the budget for the current rebranding contract. A spokesperson told Pioneers Post they were “confident” of having “secured competitive rates”.

Its overall marketing budget – which includes events, sponsorship and website development – was £253,000 in 2017 and £231,000 last year. In 2017 an open call for tender for its website rebuild, currently ongoing, offered a budget of up to £32,000 excluding VAT, plus up to £3,000 yearly maintenance. (A separate website, Good Finance, was created in 2017, with a separate budget, to promote better understanding of social investment.)

In a statement CEO Cliff Prior said the new changes would be “focused on substance rather than style, realigning our brand narrative and strategic positioning to better appeal to all of our audiences, from investors and our intermediaries to charities and social enterprises.” He said a “user-driven” approach would ensure the organisation achieves this.

London-based AML Group describes its expertise as “simple ideas for complicated businesses – connecting them with hard to reach audiences, often in highly regulated, intermediated markets.” Previous clients listed on the company website include Aberdeen Standard Investments, BNP Paribas and Investec Asset Management.  

AML was selected after a shortlisting of “over ten” agencies and following an interview process.

Prior said: “AML Group was chosen as it has a broad range of experience encompassing both financial services and the third sector, and is highly committed to both social impact and its CSR programmes.”

Asked if any social enterprise providers had been considered for the branding contract, the spokesperson said: “We chose to focus our search on finding a user-centred design agency with extensive experience in the financial sector and weren’t able to find a social enterprise that met our specific needs.”

No social enterprises submitted offers for the open call for tender for web development services.

The new brand is expected to be revealed in late 2019.

*The 2016 research was carried out by Matter&Co, former sister agency of Pioneers Post.

Header photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash