Much has graced the news already about Standard Life Aberdeen’s rebrand, most of it derisory.

My viewpoint is normally one of making sure businesses move with the times and adapt to modern ways to survive. I do see that there was confusion around the brand, with different products with similar names. I can see and understand the rationale to simplify and streamline.

However, my concern is who this is aimed at. A few years ago an eminent American ad man wrote a pertinent article about agencies avoiding one of their biggest markets, the ones with real spending power – the older demographic. It is easier for young agency hot shots to pitch at their own age group, they understand it better and it is way cooler than the silver sector.

However, the older group can be savvy, financially secure and with more time to spend their disposable income. The pandemic has shown up this divide in even more sharp relief and the younger generation will be carrying a heavy financial burden for a long time.

A modern, digitally flexible new identity is a good thing, but did it have to lean towards such youth speak? I am well aware that businesses have to look beyond their older customers as they will literally die off, but this feels like they are ignoring completely their existing database in an effort to engage with a young audience who may have significantly less money to invest……


Not standing still

Most businesses know that to stand still is to go backwards, and in marketing especially, reinvention is an on-going necessity. Marketing messages need to remain relevant to both old and new audiences. And those audiences are constantly changing ones.

Businesses need to learn to promote their brands through new channels without alienating their existing audiences.

Charities face the difficulty of managing such change whilst remaining relevant. Large national charities have marketing expertise and professional fundraisers to work with but smaller charities seldom have that luxury. Yet move forward and adapt they must.

Recognising that this skill is not available in house is one thing, investing in developing it is another. A charity committed to fundraising, must not rely on luck to secure funds or obtain large donations from rich people. They must see the activity as a key part of their business and must treat it as an integral part of the infrastructure.

One such charity is Muirfield Riding Therapy, a charity close to my heart as I started out there as a hands on helper many years ago. I have watched this admirable charity grow and develop and never stand still. The decision was taken to rebrand many years ago, using the word ‘Therapy’ in the title, despite some spirited opposition. The vision of the rebrand was to broaden their appeal and their ability to raise funds. I assisted with the re-brand and developed brand guidelines to ensure clear communication with everyone involved.

Recently Muirfield Riding Therapy has invested in a new campaign, including a campaign logo, the objective of which is to develop the social media marketing, in addition to broadening its appeal, especially to the younger audience. Although using new channels, the traditional routes have not been forgotten. Sub-campaigns have been planned and the charity has worked with specialists to develop and target these campaigns. The website has undergone a ‘refresh’ to reflect these changes.

Muirfield Riding Therapy is a charity that many businesses could learn a thing or two from: engaging, inclusive, good communicators and compassionate. And never standing still.