Social enterprise brand proposition and tone of voice

Developing an authentic brand proposition and purpose for a technology-focused social investor.

Client: Nominet Trust (Social Tech Trust)
Type of project: Authentic Brand Proposition, Cultural Change, Tone of Voice
Sector: Social Enterprise / Third Sector
Region: UK (impact Global)

An authentic brand proposition rooted in social purpose

A brand is so much more than how your organisation looks and sounds. It should be a touchstone for decisions, a reference point for the whole team and a powerful rallying cry. An authentic brand is rooted in the reasons why your organisation exists and what it believes. Brands with this sort of internal and external power don’t happen by a consultancy ‘doing branding’ to a client, but through you being enabled to see the potential within your own organsiation’s brand.

Nominet Trust are social investors. They take a proportion of Nominet‘s (the UK internet names regulator) surplus and invest it in internet-rooted social enterprises. They want to change the way the world is through their investments.

Reconnecting with a social purpose and defining a unique position for their brand

Finding their “why”: Nominet Trust were in the early stages of exploring what they stood for and what this meant for their purpose and longer term strategy. They recognised the huge potential of what they could achieve but hadn’t found the right way of expressing it.

Changes to service approach: There was a need to improve and refine the way they managed the grant and funding approach so it was easier for candidates to follow and clearer on who could request funding. They needed to clarify their offer and position – this in turn would support in the type of service and funding they offered.

Engaging with their audience: They wanted to know more about their potential investees, how they should communicate with them and how to communicate with their main stakeholder groups. At the same time, as a young organisation, they wanted to know more about themselves – how they sounded, how they were perceived, how they in turn could engage with them.

Founding their mission on an authentic belief to change lives

We took NT on a journey of exploration, clarifying their beliefs and their strategic direction. Throughout the process we helped them develop thoughtful and empowering ways of communicating their position internally and externally.

Discovering why you do what you do

We began by exploring why the individuals within the Trust do what they do, moving on to look at why the Trust exists and its reasons for being. For us, brand starts here; with the individual and corporate ‘why’ – what the people and the organisation believes about themselves and the world.

Following research to explore their current audience we proposed a series of workshops that would look at each aspect of the Trust – their service, positioning, strategy and their audiences.

We engaged with the whole Trust team as well as their trustees, drawn from outside the organisation. We were keen that the CEO and her team were involved in all the workshops.

A position everyone can believe in

We then looked at what the Trust saw as its purpose and how it intended to manage the challenges it faces. We spent time talking about the organisation’s personality and principles too. This gave us the deepest and broadest understanding of the Trust so we could develop a clear direction for their communications strategies.

This process builds a brand that’s absolutely rooted in fact and truth – and that forms the foundation for the organisation. It becomes the touchstone for decisions, a reference point for the whole team and a powerful rallying cry. This isn’t us ‘doing branding’ to our client, but us enabling the client to see their own brand as it is and with all its potential.

We believe that the internet is the single most powerful collaborative tool we have ever had.
Harnessed for social good, it empowers people to shape
the World, their communities and their own lives in ways never dreamed of.

Refining their offer and service

Finally, we produced a series of reports and recommendations focused on taking their new brand position and operationalising it in their service, communication and overall direction.

Their “social strategy” became the core of their organisation and a vehicle to develop a unique position in their market and inspire the audiences they were really looking for. Nominet Trust was able to create a clearly defined brand that is absolutely authentic and that is informing their decisions, the way they deliver their service and their future direction.

In summary

  • Nominet Trust wanted to clarify its position and strategy as a social investor.
  • We worked with them to create a powerful, authentic purpose, strategy and brand position that changed how they operated and clarified what they stood for.

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