A refreshed look for Penny Brohn UK

Dear supporter,

Thank you for visiting our website today. You’ll notice that things look a bit different around here, and we wanted to explain what has happened, and why it has happened.

Since 2022, we’ve been working on refreshing our brand, both the visual identity (logo, colours, images) and the language and tone of voice. Refreshing our brand allows Penny Brohn UK to stay current and engaging alongside other charity brands. It shows people with cancer that we are a forward-thinking, relevant organisation ready to support everyone with cancer to live well.

Importantly, updating our brand also allows us to reach new audiences and ensure that we are better known by people with cancer. We passionately believe that cancer wellbeing should be available to everyone with cancer, but currently only 8% of people we surveyed (a sample of the general population) recognised the name Penny Brohn UK, the lowest of all the cancer charity names we listed.

Updating our language and tone of voice doesn’t mean we are changing what we do – we’re updating how we talk about our work to ensure that we are accessible and inclusive to everyone. We’re using simpler, clearer and more concise language so that everyone can understand what cancer wellbeing is and why it’s important.

For example, we use the term “personalised cancer care”. You may also know this as “integrative cancer care” or “holistic approach”. All three of these terms mean that we look at you as a whole person, focusing on more than just your cancer.

As well as reaching more people living with cancer, our new brand will also enable us to reach more supporters and raise more money to put on our services. This is vital as – like many other small charities – we urgently need to raise money to continue our life-saving work.

If you have any questions, we’ve added some more information below.

We would like to make it clear that this will be a staggered refresh because we want to be careful stewards of our resources, and make careful and prudent decisions when it comes to printed materials. That means we will continue using the printed materials we already have, until they run out, when we will reprint them in the refreshed brand. Meanwhile our digital channels such as this website and our social media will use the refreshed brand. We know that our supporters won’t mind seeing a mix of the new and old logos for a little while!

I am really excited about the opportunity to support more people with cancer and for more people to know about Penny Brohn UK. This is an incredible charity providing vital services – thank you for your support as we seek to grow and improve.

Beth French, Head of Brand, Marketing and Influencing, Penny Brohn UK

Questions and answers

We have an amazing legacy and we want to talk about this as much as possible, as we are proud of everything that has happened before this point. Our organisation is still named after Penny Brohn, our co-Founder, and our work to help people live well with cancer remains true to her original vision.

We are however changing our visual identity, which hasn’t changed in over 20 years, and the biggest change you will notice is our colour palette. We now have a much wider colour palette, allowing us to utilise different colours in our marketing. This means we will no longer be strongly associated with the colour purple, but we’ve done this for a reason.

Through market research, we found that our primary purple colour was not well-liked with audiences who didn’t already know about Penny Brohn UK, and was particularly disliked by men. We are determined to ensure that everyone feels included by Penny Brohn UK, and as such having a particularly “feminine” brand identity is not wise. Some men told us that they are put off by our current brand identity as they feel we look like a charity only for women. We are therefore implementing a wider colour palette with lots of colours that allows our brand to be more inclusive to everyone.

Our research did show us that the Hub – our charity shop and wellbeing space in Bristol – is well-known as “the little purple shop”. We have therefore decided to create a sub-brand for the Hub, with purple as the headline colour, supported by our new colour palette. This allows our Hub to retain its identity, while staying linked to the wider Penny Brohn UK brand identity. There will be other sub-brands created where appropriate as the new brand offers us a great deal of flexibility.

Refreshing a brand does cost money, but we’ve made every effort possible to keep costs low and all of the work updating our website and digital communications has been managed in-house. We did work with brand and research experts in 2022 at the start of this process and this money was from a designated fund donated by an individual. There will be negligible spend going forward as work is completed by staff and at the lowest possible cost.

During the pandemic, Penny Brohn UK had to quickly pivot how we worked and get all of our services online. This allowed us to reach out to people with cancer all over the UK, and we are proud that all of our flagship services are now available regardless of where you are. As a result, we’re reaching new audiences all the time, and we know that our brand needed to be modernised and more engaging, in order to be memorable and accessible. This work started in early 2022 and we’ve taken our time to make sure it is right before we made any changes.

We’re very excited by our new logo icon! It has been created by taking a ‘P’ and a ‘B’, for Penny Brohn UK, turning them on their side and then merging them together.

The logo icon also represents the sun coming up out of the clouds, a common theme that we hear from people who have been helped by Penny Brohn UK. Our personalised approach shows people the light in the darkness and as well as understanding how hard the cancer journey can be, we want to focus on finding the joy and the moments of hope. The sun coming up from the clouds is the perfect visual representation of that!

Our strategy for the next five years is primarily focused on accessibility and inclusivity. We know that our approach works, and we are working hard to ensure that as many people with cancer as possible hear about Penny Brohn UK and are able to access our services. This isn’t that different from our previous strapline, Living Well With Cancer, but to show our commitment to the strategy, our Trustees have approved the new strapline – “cancer wellbeing for everyone”.

At the start of the process, we worked with a market research company who spoke with multiple different audiences. This shaped the original plan for how to refresh the brand identity, and set the key foundations of the project. These groups included the following people:

    • Two groups of people who were supported by Penny Brohn UK in the past. This included people who accessed our services, and people who donate financially to our work.
    • One group of clinicians and healthcare professionals who know Penny Brohn UK.
    • Two groups (one of women, one of men) of people who have had cancer diagnosed in the past four years but have never heard of Penny Brohn UK and have not accessed our services.
    • One group of people who have had a relative or friend diagnosed with cancer in the past four years, but have not heard of Penny Brohn UK or interacted with our services.

The findings from the market research focus groups were analysed thoroughly and used to identify some of the key points the brand refresh project needed to address, for example the visual identity being widely unpopular with the male participants.

Working on refreshing our brand identity has been a truly collaborative process, with lots of people involved in the process. Led by our Marketing team, all staff across the organisation have received regular updates and have had opportunities to feed in to the process. Our Trustees have also been updated regularly and have had final sign off on the major decisions. Some of our regular volunteers have been consulted and shared their feedback and ideas as the process has progressed.

The research – as stated above – involved multiple audiences, including people with cancer, their friends and family members, and healthcare professionals and clinicians. We listened carefully to their experiences, but also noted that the cancer journey is unique for everyone, and things like language preferences are often very different. For example, some people liked the use of the word “holistic” and say it sounds “comforting”, whereas others feel it sounds “too alternative” and can be a barrier.

We have also re-launched our Client Voice group, which went ‘on pause’ during the pandemic. Our amazing volunteer Maddi is running this and our vision is that our clients can be involved in all aspects of our work, right from the start of project planning. If you have been supported by Penny Brohn UK at any point in your life, you would be welcome to join the Client Voice group. Email Maddi on maddi.gardner@pennybrohn.org.uk to find out more information.

Our new logo icon

In this video animation, you can see how our new logo came to life.

The P for Penny and B for Brohn  are layered on top of each other, and then turned 90 degrees to create the icon. 

It gives a sense of the sun coming up from the clouds, and the hope we are able to offer at Penny Brohn UK. 

You will start to see this new logo appear on our online channels, and will be slowly rolled out across our offline materials too.