Bloodwise (previously Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research) is the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity. It funds world-class research, provides practical and emotional support to patients and their loved ones, and raises awareness of blood cancer.
My work with Bloodwise was multifaceted, the core focus being on helping them develop their brand to be relevant and meaningful to a broader audience - increasing their reach whilst deepening and enriching their existing relationships.
The organisation needed to move from its niche position if it was to be able to help more people living with blood cancer. It needed to fund more services, innovate and build a strong voice for support.
Wise & Fierce
Key to unlocking the brand was to find an authentic way of universalising the cause. Inspired by patients and their loved ones, from the founders to the present day, I helped Bloodwise articulate and connect with its belief that life is a gift to be used wisely and lived fiercely. This belief felt right and true - and created wonderful responses in the people we ‘tested’ it with. It connected with them emotionally and offered a sense of agency - to live life to the full, every moment you have. It opened up conversations and helped shift Bloodwise’s position - to be an organisation that offers experiences that celebrate living wisely and fiercely, no matter what your circumstances.
The belief was supported by a set of principles to guide Bloodwise's ways of working:
This was a crucial aspect of the brand & culture work. Having gone deep to articulate Bloodwise’s ‘why’ it needed to support this with a clear expectation of ‘how’ it does what it does: ways of working that underpin how it is going to beat blood cancer and help everyone live life wisely and fiercely. This work provided the foundation on which to develop more compelling communications and, crucially, support a more open, creative and transparent culture.
Blood cancer is a complicated disease - it is many different conditions that can have very different outcomes. And it’s not just leukaemia and lymphoma. Having developed the foundations of the brand with the team, our biggest challenge was to tackle a name that was holding the organisation back from having conversations with more people and supporting more patients.
Renaming a 50+ year old charity is no small feat. It is a tough emotional and strategic journey and required great resilience from everyone involved. Fuelled with clear insight and evidence that the name Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research was limiting the charity, I supported the organisation through a two year programme of change. This work involved staff, Trustees, supporters, volunteers and external stakeholders - working together to create and agree on a name that felt right; a name that all patients with blood cancer can connect with.
We chose Bloodwise because it embraces all blood cancer patients. Because it unites everything the organisation does - from its research and thought leadership to its patient support services and fundraising. And because it's true to their past, right for their present and exciting for their future. It’s also simple, short and easy to remember - which is so important when you’ve just been diagnosed and your world has turned upside down.
With positive endorsements for the naming work from individuals such Trevor Beattie (BMB Agency), Godric Smith (Inc.), Sean Duffy (NHS National Cancer Director) and Alastair Campbell, we were delighted with the response from people affected by blood cancer who felt we had opened up the charity to be relevant and meaningful to a far larger community.
Working from a place of purpose, committing to living true to your brand, requires deep leadership. To support Bloodwise’s journey of change, I collaborated with a brilliant learning & development coach. Together with Bloodwise’s then CEO, we created a leadership development programme for all staff to experience. Our focus was on helping create space for everyone to reflect on their relationship with the organisation, on what the belief and principles mean to them - to connect with the brand and consider how it will inform and guide their work. From this foundation we could begin to host workshops that looked at the qualities of leadership and how everyone, regardless of job title, has the capacity to lead.