Embrace the Middle East

Moving from strength to strength


Established in 1854 as ‘The Turkish Missions Aid Society’, BibleLands had over 150 years’ experience in tackling poverty and injustice in the Middle East. It had a faithful supporter base in the UK, and an enviable reputation in the countries in which it operated.

But it also had a problem.

Although existing supporters were loyal and committed, attracting new donors was proving difficult. The average supporter age was 74, with many having become supporters during or shortly after first hand experiences of the Middle East during the Second World War. BibleLands needed to find its place in the twenty first century.

Understanding the challenge

At the beginning of the project, a name change was by no means a foregone conclusion. However, after extensive quantitative and qualitative research among a broad stakeholder base which included trustees, staff, existing and potential supporters and overseas project partners, it quickly became apparent that the name BibleLands was a significant barrier to understanding and engagement.

So, a full rebrand it was to be. But how to make the charity relevant and appealing to a younger audience in a new world context, without abandoning its heritage or alienating its existing supporter base? Two words: authenticity and migration. The new name and identity needed to flow from the heart of the organisation, which had not changed throughout its 150+ year history. And we needed to communicate frequently and gently with staff and supporters, to ensure they felt informed, valued and heard.

Finding heart and humanity

Working closely with the CEO and board of trustees, who were completely committed to the process (not something you get with every charity rebrand!), we employed our brand methodology to arrive at an essence of ‘embrace’. This idea was at the core of everything BibleLands did – transcending social, political and religious boundaries to provide assistance to the most vulnerable – and it led us to a new name for the charity: Embrace the Middle East.

The new name was put out to research, with very positive results. It was time to deliver a visual identity. A logo marque was developed which expressed something of the warmth and welcome inherent in the word ‘embrace’, along with a distinctive colour palette which would allow Embrace to stand out among other aid and development charities. The ‘line of Embrace’ provided a neat way of housing imagery. The identity was applied to Embrace’s flagship publications – a new website, a regular supporter magazine, the catalogue for the charity’s trading arm, and the widely-used Bethlehem Carol Sheet.

Hitting the ground running

The new brand launched at the Greenbelt Festival in 2012 with an arresting installation highlighting the humanitarian impact of the Israeli separation barrier. It was embedded by means of a campaign which personalised what can be an intimidating subject. One of the most rewarding parts of working with the BibleLands team was uncovering hidden stories from the Middle East, and the campaign looked to fascinate audiences with real stories of real people. The campaign narrative was an important part of Embrace’s long term strategy of raising both its profile and donor base.

They say that fortune favours the brave. In opting for a wholesale rebrand, BibleLands’ CEO and trustees certainly took a brave decision – and it paid off almost immediately. Brand recognition at Greenbelt increased dramatically, and the new identity meant the charity could shout about its excellent work with increased confidence.

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The future of our 158-year charity depended on getting this re-brand absolutely right. We needed the best possible team to guide us through the process. said & done were superb, we are very pleased with the results.

Jeremy Moodey
CEO, Embrace