The 2017 Business Vision Awards identify top performing regional SMEs
One in ten people lacks access to safe water. Moreover, the water crises is the number one global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), as announced by the World Economic Forum in January 2015.
In a world in which 2,300 people die every day because of inadequate drinking water and sanitation, Surge is a non-profit organization registered in the United Arab Emirates and the USA that brings life-sustaining water and sanitation solutions to those in need. Surge takes a multi-faceted approach to reach as many people as possible, with the aim to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Being more than just a charitable organization that provides water to developing nations, Surge developed its own eco-system by providing training programs to residents of developing nations with the aim to pass down the knowledge to the new generation on the importance of water and sanitization. Given the extensive services provided by Surge, it was important that they communicates clearly and in a simple way what they do, to engage and attract with volunteers, as well as reach out to donors who would like to contribute to the bigger cause.
Challenge: The need to create a central point for Surge brand
With the infinite number of options provided to consumers, many non-profits organizations, such as Surge, face challenge to connect emotionally with consumers. Surge team’s key concern was not having a simple message to communicate what they really do, as they take a multi-faceted approach of not only bringing safe drinking water to people in developing countries, but uplifting entire eco-system and economy of the community step by step for a long lasting effect.
Lacking that one comprehensive brand story was affecting Surge internal and external communication, from engaging diverse team of volunteers from all over the world, to preparing and organizing fund-raising events to help bring awareness for the brand.
To support Surge’s primary goals, the team contacted JPd, a boutique branding and communications agency in Dubai. JPd team was tasked to develop solid brand positioning strategy that would incorporate some of the established brand elements, as well as help to communicate one Brand Story in a simple way, to reflect Surge’s soul, its mission and future goals.
Implementation: Driving change
JPd was inspired by the Surge’s mission and volunteered to build a strong brand as a pro-bono project to raise awareness of the water crises issue and contribute to the bigger cause. “Our goal is to help the Surge brand build awareness by articulating their identity with confidence,” adds James Pass, MD of JPd. “It’s our way of giving back to the community using the most valuable currency we have: our skills and experience." JPd team orchestrated research to gather essential input for the emerging brand strategy, and interviewed the senior team at Surge to understand the true message of the brand, and to articulate it further in way that resonates with its audience. JPd team also analyzed all the established assets of the company and overall trends in the market.
After undergoing detailed research and brainstorm session with the team, JPd team developed a Brand Driver “Ripple Effect”, implying that even the tiny drop of generosity have a long lasting effect.
The boutique branding agency worked with Surge to build a brand that could be understood by all volunteers, and applied appropriately by all. Inspired by a simple concept, JPd team developed Surge’s brand positioning statement, key attributes, along with a detailed brand tone of voice and design system, that would guide Surge team and support its communication internally and externally, not limited to events, website and their social media activity. To address the challenge of coherent internal communication and implementation, JPd team provided a full brand guideline for the Surge team, to ensure consistent brand roll-out across all countries.
Results: Authenticity leads to differentiation
With a new visual identity and thoughtful messaging, JPd helped Surge highlight their exceptional work, emphasizing their focus on preserving water. A clear, motivating brand story was developed for Surge to communicate to its volunteers and the community through the brands website and digital platforms.
With implementation of new brand strategy in 2016, Surge team achieved the highest results ever recorded, helping them provide safe water access to 215,947 people.
One of the 1st brand implementations was re-naming the annual key fund-raising DDD event from “Design, Dine, Donate” to “Design, Dine and make a Difference”, which helped introducing the new brand to a wider audience. With over 350 guests gathered for inspirational Gala, Surge team recorded higher number of partners comparing to the previous year. New speakers, which volunteered to come all the way from Uganda to deliver their special message to UAE audience, reflected a real impact of brand engagement.
Surge, today has a clear voice and a brand to move its business forward, and is established as a niche organization committed to bringing life-sustaining water and sanitation solutions to those in need. Confirming the market acceptance through research and clarifying a substantial brand promise allowed Surge to secure relationships with potential investors, partners and the community.
Gold Winner of the Transform Award 2017
JPd’s excellence in rebranding and brand development was recognized in a room brimming with industry specialists, winning a Gold award in the Best Visual Identity for Charity/NGO category for the Surge brand at the Transform Awards MENA 2017.