Brand Strategy

Still RSPCA: a rebrand for the ages

02 May 2024 2 min read
Written by

Greg Bryant

Still RSPCA: a rebrand for the ages

Sometimes, some things are so ingrained in people’s psyches that there’s a worry, an almost paralysing fear, to change them.

I, for one, am therefore glad to see the brave rebrand of the RSPCA – brave for its positivity toward change, brave for its adaptability, and brave for its digital agility. As highlighted by Creative Review, the ‘vibrant, flexible identity’ by JKR has been launched alongside a humorous advertising campaign to bring new eyes onto the organisation. 

For a brand that’s not changed in half a century, the UK’s largest animal welfare charity, has moved out of the 1970s bell-bottoms and maxi dresses, and slipped into something a little more digitally comfortable. But why have they done this? And why now?


Ageing out

In a similar way to the different sectors (banking and membership, for instance), the charity’s donors are starting to fall away as they get older. There’s a commitment required for the next generation. How can the RSPCA attract the new cohort of donations, volunteering and sponsorship?

The wider ‘younger’ generations care about different things. A shifting mindset for the organisation is to move away from pet owners – predominantly dogs and cats – as the key audience, to wider groups in society: those who may like animals, but not have pets. More cause-led or interested consumers – wildlife, the countryside, the environment, sustainability, global issues. Wider animal welfare in the UK, farming in particular.

A far more conscious generation is coming through. This new audience are not fully bought in, not militant by any means, but are interested in these causes. They aren’t outlandish crusades: everyone is talking about them around dinner tables, in the office, while out for walks. The pet lovers will always be there – the dogs and cats tug at the heartstrings – but the RSPCA is now fighting for its audience with wider causes, e.g. PETA, the National Trust, Greenpeace.

RSPCA rebrand dog coat in blue JKR_AMV BBDO

Part of the digital furniture

In addition to the younger, more globally engaged audience, I feel like the second challenge for the RSPCA’s rebrand is around so-called ‘British values’. It’s about a way of life, a traditional ‘stiff upper lip’ mentality that, almost regardless of age, we feel a strong sense of belonging to.

The RSPCA, National Trust, the Post Office (less said about them, the better) – we have strong emotional ties to such brands. So, when a rebrand is undertaken, it should be done tastefully and respectfully, right?

However, some of these traditional stalwarts have not had a great reputation recently. Stuffiness, dragging heels, there are quicker ways to do things. There is an opportunity to step out of this established brand category and not beleft behind.

So it’s good to see some bravery from the RSPCA – I’m really pleased to see a far more digital-ready brand. It’s evolved to target a younger generation across digital and real-life platforms. It has a stencilled, almost print, feel with a digital pop, and more eye-catching colours. As well as being brighter and louder, it crucially enables flexibility – there are plenty of options with colours as well as different animals. 

You can flip it easily, widen the colour palette, and it will still be recognisable. Or change the icon based on the local environment – a horse or cow for farming, or identifiable animal for a different region. This is not a knee-jerk – this is a brand taking its time and ensuring it’s ready to engage with (not only target) a younger, more conscious audience.


The kids are alright

And doubling down on that younger audience – this younger ‘generation’ are not kids, they’re adults. There’s an even younger group at play behind them. Teens and children, growing up hyper environment- and nature-aware.

These kids will see it and become aware of the new brand as the years pass. Once they get to spending age, they’ll be thinking of causes they could donate to. This cross into a cause-driven mentality is really clever

It seeps into the psyche, tapping into things they care about. When they’re financially independent they’ll already have a relationship with, and awareness of, the organisation through its branding. The rebrand allows the organisation to drop into affecting both the broader audience it needs now, and the younger audience it needs in the future. 

And at the end of the day, it’s still, clearly, RSPCA.

RSPCA_dog_coat in blue rebrand new branding


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