In unveiling the new look-and-feel and positioning statement, Giles Shepherd, ABF President, unpacked the strategic reasons behind the change: “We had a great identity in the past, but it had done its job and, like any brand, we felt the time was right to refresh our look and positioning in the market.”
The 40-year-old charitable fund provides vital crisis support to individuals in the advertising, marketing and media industries who have fallen on hard times. In providing a support structure, the ABF helps those who cannot support themselves due to retrenchments, redundancies, injuries or illnesses. “There are many situations, particularly now with the economic downturn, in which people need a stop-gap that will allow them to get back on their feet again. This is where the ABF steps in,” explains Shepherd.
The name change from Advertising Benevolent Fund to the shorter ABF reflects the fact that the organisation has, for a long time, extended its services beyond simply advertising to the media and marketing industries as well. “We felt that ‘benevolent' was old terminology that many people didn't relate to, and that it was time for something fresh. In addition, the people we serve know us and refer to us as the ABF. We wanted to reflect this in the new identity,” says Shepherd.
The new logo is based on the concept of a tree, symbolising life, growth, shelter and support. ABF employed the services of creative agency REX to translate these ideas into a visually arresting graphic. “The tree is composed of different elements that characterise the various industries with which the ABF interacts. The trunk and branches represent a person, which reflects the support that the ABF provides to individuals in need,” says REX Creative Director, Rudo Botha.
“The logo also speaks of upward motion and energy. Ultimately it reflects that ABF is an energetic fund that supports life and people,” adds, Shepherd.
The logo and new name are coupled with a new positioning statement ‘Vital Support Fund.' which reflects the essence of what the ABF is. “This new positioning statement followed a strategic analysis which helped to further define our raison d'être,” Shepherd concluded.
In 2008 the ABF paid grants in aid amounting to R338 000, an increase of more than 70% on the year before. This is expected to increase further this year. Funds in reserve also doubled to a little more than R1 million. Individual membership costs just R350 per year, and includes membership of Discounted Lifestyle with a plethora of benefits. Corporate donors are part of the lifeline that make the ABF possible. The renewed energy of the organisation also means added bonuses for members, including industry networking platforms and opportunities to interact with peers.