Hospice Branding

Changing perceptions and encouraging support


A challenge facing modern hospice care, is addressing the public perception that a Hospice is a place where very poorly people go to die. The public, gebnerally, are unaware of the essential services a hospice can offer.

Our approach

We began working with a hospice in 2007, St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds. We were asked to look at their presentation and how brand could be used to alter perceptions of the organisation, All hospices, as well as providing care to their patients, are also fundraisers, educationalists and patrt of the community. One of the big movements in hospice work is to help the public to realise that the care given is not exclusively provided in the hospice building, much work is done at home and in the community. For this reason we changed the organisations name to St Nicholas Hospice Care, emphasising the care given as oppose to the building.

Our analysis of other organisations identities revealed that attention was mostly given to peaceful, growing, ethereal or religious icons such as doves, rainbows, trees or icons such as crosses. To us, these seemd to concentrate on the inevitable outcome of hospice care rather than the patient and the care they, and their families, recieved. And in most cases the fund raising and other activities that they engage in, to run their operation, were being ignored in their brand identities.

After spending time with staff, volunteers and stakeholders for St Nicholas we always came away from meetings feeling that everybody within the organisation – whether patients, carers, clinical or fundraising staff – had a story to tell, and most times they were stories of love, care and positivity. We developed a brand identity that centered on a speeach bubble which could contain numerous messages to convey sentiments relating to the activities of the hospice. examples can be seen below.

A little while later we were asked to go through the same process for St Elizabeth Hospice based in Ipswich. We carried out the same kind of research and came to the same conclusions. We obviously needed to present a different brand identity and this time focussed on what the hospice care gave to patients and their families – Whereevr care was given, the recipient could just be. Using the central letters of Elizabeth ‘be’, this was word was also used as an aspiration for volunteers, patinets and fundraisers alike – be creative, be a hero, be strong, be comforted, be yourself etc.

The outcome

Both St Nicholas Hopsice Care and St Elizabeth Hospice have grown in to their new brand identities and the challenges they face have become somewhat easier as a  result of having a strong brand identity that does so much more than simply identify them.

As Barbera Gale – CEO at St Nicholas Hospice Care said, “We worked with Barber Jackson becasue they sold us a process rather than a solution”. By working through our brand spotlight process St Nicholas Hospice Care were able to develop their brand identity to reflect what they are and how they work.

Likewise Laura Beardsell-Moore – Head of Marketing and Communications for St Elizabeth at the time of the re-brand said, ““This clever, catchy concept will help us to appear friendlier and more approachable to people who may be apprehensive about receiving hospice care – and more appealing to those who want to support us. This strikes the perfect balance – a brand that is fun for fundraisers and also highlights the Hospice’s compassion and humanity.”

Alison Lanchester, former Director of Income Generation & Marketing commented “We have already seen increased footfall and takings in our shops and we are very excited to see how we can use the new brand to inspire supporters. We need to raise more than £7 million every year to continue to support people who are facing a progressive illness and we see the new brand playing an important role in finding new ways to reach supporters.”


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