Oxfam turns to WS to update image

Oxfam has appointed Weber Shandwick as its retained PR agency in a move that the charity hopes will help reinvigorate its engagement with the British public.

Be Humankind: Oxfam’s new brand proposition
Be Humankind: Oxfam’s new brand proposition

Weber Shandwick is providing strategic consultancy to help Oxfam retain its relevancy amid concern about the developing world.

Oxfam also faces an inc­reasingly competitive market in both the third sector and consumer brand sector.

Weber Shandwick landed the brief after beating off Munro & Forster in a two-way shoot-out. Munro & Forster had previously been working with Oxfam on a project basis.

Oxfam head of PR Katie Abbotts said: ‘The appointment is a reaction to the fact that we need to get closer to our audience to retain our relevancy. One of the reasons we chose WS is that it showed a real strength of character. That was one thing we wanted to have - someone to challenge our way of working.'

Weber Shandwick consu­mer director Helen Bennett, who leads the account, said the agency would be looking to use its expertise to build Oxfam into more of a lifestyle brand.

Oxfam will also be looking to Weber Shandwick to help clarify its audiences and work on ideas around a new word-of-mouth campaign. The agency has not yet planned any specific tactics.

The consumer-led team will also draw on expertise from across Weber Shandwick. Recently appointed strategic planning director Leo Rayman is involved with the development of the new positioning and strategy.

The appointment follows the April launch of Oxfam's new brand proposition, Be Humankind. This marks a deliberate attempt to move Oxfam's focus away from world problems, towards good news stories, focused on solutions.

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