Beyond BBV

Realising a healthcare miracle

Healthcare & Pharma

When the call came in to help a team of researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to create a brand for their groundbreaking research programme, we weren’t sure quite what to expect. In reality, branding and scientific research are rarely easy bedfellows.

But what we found was a team of passionate researchers who'd spent years laying the foundations for something quite remarkable: the end of HIV transmission and Hep C infection in Scotland.

The problem? This mission was bigger than the team. It needed a brand that would speak to fellow healthcare practitioners and policymakers; a campaign others could feel part of – something bigger than just a university research programme.

A simple idea for a complex landscape

Our first challenge was to get under the skin of the proposed research programme – its aims, objectives, methodology – and the people behind it. This was coupled with a crystallisation of what the brand needed to achieve: to refocus minds on a disease set that the world of medical science had in many ways ‘moved on from’.

As the Scottish Government-backed research programme was focused on eliminating Blood-Borne Virus (BBV) transmission – and the term BBV was a commonly understood one within the medical community – we decided to lean into the moniker for the brand name.

But unlike many research programmes which focus on either process or output, we wanted to focus on outcome – the end result of the programme achieving its aims. In short, we wanted our audience to imagine a world without BBVs – to see beyond where we are today. So the name Beyond BBV was born.

The power of a line drawn

In our discussions with the professors, we kept circling back to this idea of it being the ‘end of the line’ for HIV transmission and Hep C infection in Scotland. The creative team began playing with the concept – and soon the strapline (and accompanying visuals) of drawing a line under HIV & Hep C emerged.

It was the bigger thought that the brand needed – the concept around which both the narrative for the research programme and the visual identity of the brand could revolve. Once that was pinned down, the execution of the brand came easily: microsite, PowerPoint template, badges, stationery, etc.

From research team to healthcare movement

On World AIDS Day (Dec 1st) of 2023, Beyond BBV was launched – a key part of the Scottish Government’s HIV Elimination Strategy. Below is the call to arms which we co-wrote with the team of researchers to mark the launch of the programme…

It’s not often you stand on the brink of a research miracle – that moment when a new reality appears on the horizon.

And yet we find ourselves in just such a moment when it comes to Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs). We are tantalisingly close to achieving something unthinkable only a decade ago – ending HIV transmission and Hepatitis C infection and disease here in Scotland.

But this dream of Scotland becoming the first ‘beyond BBV’ nation will only become a reality if we seize the moment and refuse to let it pass us by.

It will require commitment to triumph over complacency; investment to win out over inertia; collaboration to prevail instead of separation.

It starts with researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and communities in Scotland coming together for the common good – demonstrating to the rest of the world that we can move beyond the current reality with these viruses.

From here, it’s over to the remarkable team of researchers at GCU – and the wider community of practitioners and policymakers they are collaborating with – to turn this dream into a reality.

We know it won’t be long before we hear about the miracle they’ve managed to achieve.

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We are very pleased with the brand you have created and all the work you have done. This has really set us up well for the future.

Prof Claudia Escort
Professor of Sexual Health & HIV, Glasgow Caledonian University