Samaritans plans major push to promote rebrand

LONDON - The Samaritans is planning a major PR drive for later in the year to hammer home messages surrounding its rebrand to Samaritans, unveiled this week.

The six-month PR-led communications campaign is due to kick-off in November and follows media work this week to launch its new-look brand and strategy.

The rebrand was felt necessary to change outdated perceptions of the charity, founded nearly 50 years ago.

Samaritans PR manager Sarah Nelson confirmed current launch media relations work would act as a precursor to the yet-to-launch primary communications campaign. The group has already completed an internal PR push to communicate the rebrand among its 18,300 volunteers and 203 branches nationwide prior to taking the repositioning public.

Nelson said the campaign forms part of a broader repositioning strategy, sparked off by findings of an organisational review, called Facing the Future: "People associate us with suicide and, above and beyond that, don't know what we do -- this is what the current and forthcoming campaigns are all about, making it clear who we are, what we do and what we stand for," she said.

The campaign is set to focus on research and survey findings, driven primarily by PR and incorporating through-the-line marketing tactics. All PR is being handled by Nelson and the three-strong in-house PR team, with creative consultancy Agency Republic leading the marketing brief. Brand expert Wolff Olins has been working with The Samaritans for the past year to develop an updated brand, which was given the go ahead by the charity's board of trustees five months ago.

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