What is your purpose?
This is quite the existential question to contemplate, but like many organisations, it’s something that we at Future Care Capital have been considering in great depth – even before the arrival of the Coronavirus.
Covid-19 is unprecedented in its shock factor, economic impact and global reach. It is, without doubt, the most testing time in recent memory and quite possibly in peacetime since 1945. Its effect is widespread and has turned all our lives upside down. Right now, normality is being indoors for 23 hours a day, standing in lengthy, snaking queues to get the bare essentials and crossing the road at the sight of another human being.
The charity sector has been hit hard in many ways. Alongside furloughing staff or redundancies, many organisations have been struggling with finances thrown into turmoil as their fundraising activities came to a halt. And then there is the challenge of picking up an entire organisation, scattering a team to their various homes and starting to work from there.
At FCC, we are fortunate in that we were well set up to adapt to home working. Because many of us were only based in the office for a few days a week we were able to pick up our laptops and start working from home quite easily. And we did it before many started shutting down offices and prior to the lockdown being announced. Being flexible, mobile and agile is baked in the core of who we are. Doing things differently, challenging the status quo and demonstrating that there is always an alternative is reflected well in our new strapline – Inform. Connect. Transform. This strapline also speaks to our purpose, which is to bring together, or connect, policymakers and practitioners in order to improve and transform outcomes in health and care.
We have been around, in one form or another, since 1945. Our new look, feel and shiny new website is the result of two meaty projects we initiated at the end of last year, way before Coronavirus had even been reported on in China. When we had to make the transition to work from home, I had concerns about how we would be able to complete and implement the project successfully. But luckily, Microsoft Teams and other tools have helped us work together as closely as we did when we could chat across desks and with our web developer, Supersonic Playground and designers, Bluestep.
Although it’s not how we planned it, it’s been an interesting time to deliver this project. The very nature of the rebranding process means you need to go back to basics, think about who you are, what you are trying to achieve and why. The pandemic has seen other organisations do the same, think Brewdog no longer making beer but instead using their distillery to make alcoholic hand gel; Mercedes F1 Team unable to race making a new non-invasive ventilator to help support the UK health system. Necessity is most certainly the mother of invention.
Going back a touch, the importance of a brand has changed significantly over time. The term branding comes from the Old Norse “Brandr” which means to burn. Dating back to the ancient Egyptians and the need to mark property, branding is by no means a new thing. The Catholic Church is sometimes regarded as the greatest brand of all time, going from strength to strength over the centuries, adapting according to the times, and the industrial revolution brought about the mass production of new products – branding was a sign of quality. Twentieth Century mass media allowed large commercial brands to link their products with emotions, pleasure, and self-image – think Mad Men. Thatcher’s and Reagan’s privatisation drive allowed corporations to increase shareholder value with the help of branding. With the internet, came greater transparency of organisations and what they do. The way we engage with brands changed forever, or so we thought – the advent of social media changed the game once again.
Like any organisation, it is always valuable to take the time to reflect on FCC’s purpose and check that this is communicated well through our branding and website. Just as FCC has needed to learn and evolve, so our website and branding needed updating and refreshing.
This process has taken me on a journey, perhaps even more important than it might otherwise have been in more settled times. With a new bright, colourful and engaging digital home, alongside imagery and video content to evoke intrigue, generate interest and inform others, I hope this will be a befitting hub for all to access the great work we do right now and when life returns to some level of normality.