This was a job we genuinely wanted and when we discovered we had won it, we didn't take the weight of responsibility lightly; we set about the task with a devotion to uncover all we could and to deliver the best work possible. Even at the initial stage we knew the brand’s potential of truly engaging with everyone in Ireland and make a difference and their individual lives was huge. Empowering to say the least.
Heart Disease and Stroke combined are Ireland's greatest killers and those that are struck are often left debilitated, with a loss of their former selves and former lives. There is a wide awareness of the two illnesses but a frightening lack of knowledge of the causes, signs and of who it affects and even less knowledge of how to avoid them or deal with them, there is also little knowledge that the illnesses are connected. There was no lack of information being supplied by the Foundation, but for whatever reason the message was not getting through, it was not being engaged with, yet because of the prevalence of Heart disease and Stroke you would be hard pushed to walk through this life without being touched by them, this message needs to be heard.
The Foundation had been working with brand strategist David O'Connor, they had been on a journey to understand their audience, themselves, their true worth and their why, to enable them to unify, focus their message and activities. They had developed a brand positioning of being here to‘empower people to live longer healthier, happier lives. This chimed very much with our own thinking. Their communications needed to move from fear based to that of hope, from frightening people of the dangers, to empowering them with the knowledge that their individual destiny was in their own hands. They could steer it and the brand needed to positively inspire them to do so. Our core concept, which evolved over time, was the idea that all of our lives are connected. Losing someone you love can be an unbearable weight and if we took a moment to consider this, then it's a weight we wouldn't want to impose on those we love in turn. We defined this as connected hearts, that to look after your own heart was to look after the hearts of your loved ones in turn. We also needed to find a way to externalise their position, we did this while looking at the same time at how we could communicate everything as one connected brand. We wanted to make all of the messaging, all of the compartmentalised elements more accessible; less governmental in tone, less of the jargon, introduce more warmth. We wanted to talk to core audiences just like they talked to each other. We chose to externalise the line simply as 'Let's live life better', a statement with hope and positivity at its core but also a gentle incentive to action and an opener to a conversation as to how and why we can live our lives better.
With the core strategic framework in place we then set about creating the visual aspect of the rebrand. As with the language and core messaging, we wanted to simplify and humanise wherever possible. The ‘heart’ symbol was a mandatory necessity, but making one of the world's most used and recognized symbols unique, meaningful and ownable was a real challenge. The colour red was also a given, but we wanted to inject more diversity and introduce a broader tonal range. We tackled this by creating a distinct heart icon which reflected our connected hearts concept, and surrounded the core red with a broader palette to inject more vitality into everything they do.
We then built a broader design system which allows for diversity in communications from core comms to targeted campaigns, and an overall image style that includes both illustration and photography. We explored various possibilities regarding their name, simplifying it to 'Irish Heart', removing its no longer needed ‘Foundation’. We also resolved the longstanding unsteady relationship with Stroke, with the solution being not to create a sub-brand as such but more of a rallying call communicating a clear signal of our support and dedication, that we are all‘United for Stroke’.
Throughout the journey we delved and dived, editing and simplifying wherever possible to ensure the new brand worked across a wide range of applications from admin to advertising, printed comms to livery, Happy Hearts Appeals to guidelines, testing it internally & externally along the way.
Irish Heart now has a clear focused expression and an agile flexible living brand, a brand that will grow with the charity and enable its life changing mission. This is just the start and we are honoured to have played our part. To see how you can make life better for you and your loved ones, visit www.irishheart.ie.