Every so often, one company or another decides to change its corporate image and one of the most obvious signs of that is its new logo.
Normally, the introduction of a new corporate identity is because the company concerned wishes to be seen in a different light – and the launch is heralded by much publicity in an effort to get its message across to its perceived audience.
That being the case, I am somewhat perplexed by behavior of the UK’s Multiple Sclerosis Society.
This is the country’s largest MS charity and it has a new logo. No announcement, no press release and nothing on its website – well, not yet anyway.
So, why has the logo been changed? I asked the society’s press office.
A spokeswoman told me: “We didn’t issue a press release about our logo, but the change was made as part of our goal to position the MS Society as front of mind and more relevant to all those affected by MS in the UK, increase people’s propensity to support us and grow awareness and understanding of MS.”
Yeah, right! And just how is that going to be achieved if no-one gets told about it?
The old logo, pictured right, used to have a ‘broken’ letter M, I assumed to indicate the damage to our central nervous system, and included the words ‘multiple sclerosis’ in full.
The new logo, pictured above, uses just the initials ‘MS’ and its overall design looks like a right-pointing arrow. I suppose that could be pointing the way forward or indicating progress.
These are my words, not those of the MS Society – which has not explained the new logo.
In my experience, new corporate identities and new logos don’t come cheap as everything, including paper for letters and publicity material such as t-shirts, badges, collection boxes and a lot more, has to be replaced.
The MS Society is a charity that relies on donations. Are you a donor? Do you pay to be a member? If so. is your money being well-spent? I hope so but only time will tell.
What do you think about it?
8 thoughts on “Sshh! MS Society has a new logo – but is it money well spent?”
How sad that we the people who have M.S are not consulted at all about where any of our donations go….
It ‘only’ cost 100k. It doesn’t even mention multiple sclerosis! That money may be chicken feed to their marketing dept. But, shockingly, they don’t even have a central database of volunteers, sufferers or anything – the whole society seems to be run along the most amateur lines, with each local society doing its own thing. They need to up their game, and starting with a logo that doesn’t even mention the disease is not a good start…most people get us mixed up with ME as it is…
To be fair, the MS Society does have a centralized database of its members which is updated monthly. Every branch has online access to their members’ list on that database. I know this to be true because I was, for a short while, a branch secretary. The new logo mentions MS, not the full name, which may be misleading for some people outside the MS community.
The new MS logo looks like my Christmas tree, which has also fallen down.
I know the implementation of the new look will cost a fortune in addition to the initial 100k fee. The old logo made visual sense, had impact and was popular. It did not need changing. BTW, I have MS and am also an experienced logo designer. Design by committee is always a disaster. l did not design the old MS logo but know that when it ain’t broke…
The old logo was not popular, it drew a lot of criticism from members. People living with MS were involved in the brand refresh too, rather than “design by committee”. Where are you getting your “facts”?
when I enquired I was told that feedback was the old logo looked ‘tired’ and the whole brand refresh involved people living with MS. I was also told about the negative feedback about the old branding. They also said the old branding has been getting more and more difficult to use in digital media and social environments. I asked about cost, and was told the figure was 0.4% of the society’s total annual expenditure. Can’t you see that charities have to behave more like businesses these days in order to keep looking fresh and attractive? ok they’re not a business as such but essentially they still need to attract ‘customers’, that is fundraisers and donaters. As for costing more than the initial figure, it won’t really. They aren’t just throwing stuff away with the old branding on, they are continuing to use these things and when they need to be replaced, the new literature / items etc will come through with the new branding. So no wastage there. Are any of you active in your local branches? if so, volunteers could have told you all this or found out for you if you’d have asked. My boyfriend is a volunteer and found all of this out for me. As for “if it ain’t broke”, well income for the society has overall been in decline for some time. And while new branding / logo won’t fix that by itself, it’s one small part of refreshing the image of the organisation. Finally, to the comment about it being ‘sad’ that people with MS aren’t consulted about where their donations go, two points: they try to include people affected by MS in many of their programmes and initiatives. Correspondence from them and local staff frequently asks for involvement from people with MS or carers etc. when they are working on something. Secondly, anyone donating funds can specify where they want it to go. Sometimes they want it to be solely for use by their local branch to fund their activities, sometimes they specify they want it to go to research, and can usually specify which research project that the ms society are involved with they want it to go towards. Sometimes this isn’t possible if a study has already obtained all the funding it needs. I’d suggest speaking to the head of your local group or even calling the MS Society themselves if you have any questions about the issues you’ve raised here. The society spend hundreds of thousands per year on grants alone, and millions on research projects. Local branches also raise funds and spend a lot on running their activities and also giving out grants locally. I think it’s a sad state of affairs if people think it’s a bad thing that the organisation has refreshed its brand for the first time in about 15 years, at a cost of less than half a percent of their annual expenditure. Don’t mean this to sound nasty, but thought that people might think differently if they see some actual facts. I used to work in marketing before I had to stop working due to my health, hence my interest and questions when this new branding rolled out. Take care all.
Hello Kerry, thanks for your reply – even though you made it more than eight months after the original article was posted. That article included a comment from the MS Society, an official comment that did not make any of the points you include in your comment. I am not defending the old logo, or criticising the new one, but I stand by my view that it was in the society’s best interests to have publicized its new corporate image and the reasons for it. Sadly, for some reason, it decided not to do so. As a former branch secretary, I am well aware of how the society works, of its successes and failings.
Hello Ian. Yes, I guess I’m late to this particular party! I only stumbled across this page by accident. My comments weren’t directly to you, probably more the other people commenting. I do agree that this should have been publicised more…well…publically! I think they went for the approach of putting the changes out there, asking volunteers to use the new logo etc, and just dealing with any queries as they came up. As you know about National Centre from a volunteer perspective you probably know that the quality and consistency of info they give out can vary depending on who you manage to speak to. I suspect staff are given a list of questions and answers to refer to whenever something major happens that may result in queries, and they’ll only answer the specific questions put to them, which might be why I got a few more details. I did read something quite brief in one of their publications back when the new logo and branding was introduced, but you’re right, it wasn’t done with much fanfare and perhaps they missed a trick in not publicising it more at the time. Perhaps they were concerned about receiving more queries than they could deal with from the likes of me and you! I’ve asked via my partner before why they don’t publicise the organisation more in the media, such as TV adverts, newspapers etc, as I think there is still a huge lack of public awareness, but was told they think the cost isn’t justifiable. I disagree, as larger charities generally benefit from an increase in donations and fundraising following high visibility campaigns. Sorry if it came across as me having a go at your comments alone, I actually felt more strongly about the other comments left here. I don’t think an unreasonable amount of money was spent on this and after doing some digging I understand the reasons and motivations, but I agree that it could have been more openly publicised, not least because it could have resulted in some ‘free’ publicity in the media that could have raised more awareness of both MS and the society. I also agree that omitting the words “multiple sclerosis” is a mistake, as many still don’t know what MS stands for.
Hi Kerry, I agree that the society missed a trick with its rebranding – both with the media (and public) and its own volunteers. Shame! It may be a great idea to move from ‘multiple sclerosis’ to ‘MS’ but, with either, a great deal of education is needed.