Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) was set up over 45 years ago to fund-raise collectively in times of significant crisis, and to enable the major broadcasters to make public televised appeals for a group of charities, rather than singling out one for special treatment.
By the time we began our initial discussions in the summer of 2011, the DEC consisted of 14 major aid agencies (including those as large as the British Red Cross, Save the Children and Oxfam), but the status of the collective was strained. The smaller- to medium-sized agencies were generally supportive of working together, but there were some misgivings amongst the larger ones.
Our task was wide-ranging and strategically challenging – to assess the validity of the ‘idea’ of the DEC and find a way for it to clearly state its purpose and still recognise its constituent parts. It also needed to make much more impact during an appeal, whilst allowing member agencies to fundraise on their own behalf as part of one co-ordinated campaign.
Just the research and strategic side of this project took over a year to resolve as we navigated our way with one overall client and 14 members, all with equally valid views. Eventually, the majority view prevailed – that the DEC was still effective, still meant something, and, if strengthened, could still play a key fundraising role.
We gathered agreement around a simple core idea, ‘together we’re stronger’ and three key brand foundations: they are there to galvanise the nation to give and the members to work together, amplify the appeals to the highest level, whilst retaining peoples’ trust to do the right thing with the millions raised.
Once we reached the design stage, one of the simplest ideas won through because it enabled, with a system of concentric, ‘seismic’ rings, to impart both a sense of emergency to the DEC and also to brand each individual appeal.
Here are examples* showing the link of the DEC marque to appeal names. Below you can see this in action for the DEC’s Syria appeal, launched March 2013. In an increasingly competitive charity market, they can now begin building their brand whilst fundraising.
The idea of the concentric rings is being used across all the organisation’s materials as a linking visual device, and is now permeating all of their printed and digital media.
Here’s the new brand working in ident form for the DEC’s Syria appeal – this is being used as a key visual introduction to appeals on the BBC and ITV.
For outdoor and advertising treatments, the DEC is always clearly linked to the appeal ‘roundels’, and the member agencies are used as an endorsing device down edges of the ads.
For their own efforts during the appeals, the member agencies will display a clear endorsing logo that states their membership and all members will use the same appeal name.
In time, over the course of several years and appeals, it’s hoped that the increased recognition of the new brand will help the DEC raise ever larger sums of money for disasters all over the world.
* these are hypothetical examples for illustration only and do not correspond to current emergencies