On 6 January, the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, the policy and campaigning arm of the Citizens Advice Bureaux across England and Wales, changed its name to Citizens Advice.
This renaming took place on the back of MORI research conducted in 2001, which revealed that the organisation's most common abbreviation, NACAB, failed to establish the link to Citizens Advice Bureaux with key external audiences.
With around 300 staff, working from 13 main offices across seven English regions and Wales, NACAB realised it was vital this name change was embraced by its own people.
To communicate to staff why the change was taking place and win their support to establish a consistent visual identity and editorial style across the organisation.
With a total budget, including PR, of only £10,000, more than half of which was used in changing the email address, it was also essential the change happened as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible.
Strategy and Plan
As each regional office had its own NACAB visual identity, descriptors and editorial style, there were concerns around staff either forgetting - or choosing - not to use the new name. Many staff were initially sceptical about the practicality of the name change or concerned about its costs.
Others resented having to adopt a consistent visual identity for the first time.
Therefore, the PR team decided upon a campaign model involving a high degree of staff participation.
Six months before the change came into effect, a team of name change champions was established, comprising 25 representatives from across the organisation. These volunteers implemented the name change locally, working to an agreed three-point plan of auditing the changes required, communicating with staff and evaluating the campaign's effectiveness.
Using briefing materials and reference documents, this strategy enabled the champions to engage and discuss the change with colleagues.
Measurement and Evaluation
The name change champions provided regular feedback to the central comms team.
This resulted in significant amendments, including the redesign of letterheads and other stationery, plus alterations to the text of standard voicemail messages and the organisation's email footer.
Shortly after the name change, Citizens Advice distributed an online staff questionnaire, which gained 233 responses (from 300 staff in total) over a two-week period.
It revealed 80 per cent of staff understood the reasons for the change and almost three quarters supported it. Ninety-two per cent understood how to use the new name, while 90 per cent said they knew who to contact if they had any problems or issues.