Shelter – Positioning statements and tone of voice
New approach to language almost doubles recognition of charity’s work
We created positioning statements and a new tone of voice for housing and homelessness charity Shelter – and recognition of their work almost doubled within three months.
In 2012, Shelter was facing a perfect storm. Pressure on UK housing was the worst it had been for decades. And a major source of funding – Legal Aid – was being cut. So they needed to help more people and raise money directly more than ever before.
But there was a challenge. Many people don’t understand what Shelter does. People often think the charity provides soup and blankets. It doesn’t, and never has. What it does do is provide timely, expert advice and support to people facing homelessness and housing issues.
So Shelter needed to reposition and refresh their brand. And because their visual identity was working well, they decided to achieve the repositioning through language alone. They wanted to connect even more strongly with corporate and individual donors – and they needed people to have a better understanding of what they did.
Creating Shelter’s positioning statements
Large organisations are often doing lots of good things at the same time – and Shelter is no different. But this can make it difficult to focus on one particular message.
We created a set of short, medium and long positioning statements to help Shelter convey their position clearly and consistently. These are now used throughout the organisation – from headquarters through to advice centres and charity shops.
A consistent, hard-hitting tone of voice
Anyone could need Shelter’s services, because homelessness can happen to anyone. So the new tone of voice emphasises emotive, passionate language that feels human and proactive. It takes inspiration from Shelter’s original, hard-hitting campaigns of the 1960s.
We rolled out the new verbal identity across the whole organisation, training their teams in England and Scotland to use it.
Shelter teams are now talking more engagingly and directly with donors. With a set of descriptors, people in shops and on the phone find it easier to talk about what the organisation does.
And just two months after the rebrand, recognition of Shelter as an advice charity had almost doubled.