We want to change the world. But how?

ACEVO CEO Vicky Browning tells the story behind our brand refresh.

It was the strapline that stumped us.

Our existing line, “Charity Leaders Network” described what ACEVO was, but not the breadth of our reach across the social sector, nor the ‘magic ingredient’ of how we achieve our vision. (And the missing apostrophe drove me mad).

We set to work, and after two hours of the finest ACEVO team brainstorming, we’d come up with an alternative: “The leaders’ network”. That was when we knew we needed help.

With our trustees, we’d refined ACEVO’s why (our vision of civil society leaders making the biggest possible difference) and our what (providing connections, skills, advocacy and support). But we still hadn’t fully articulated how we work to achieve our vision. And we wanted our members to be at the centre of that articulation, not ACEVO as an organisation.

We believe in the ripple effect of good leadership. When leaders are at their best, their energy is shared with transformative effect. Their vision and impact spreads to their teams and organisations, out to the people and causes they support and on to the wider world.

Effective leaders are driven by imagining a better, brighter, more equal world. Through their vision they inspire others. And together with their teams and peers they deliver impact – improving lives, our society and their own performance.

Imagine, inspire, improve – that’s how our leaders make a difference. And that’s what our new brand strapline articulates.

Rethinking our strapline was one part of a whole rebranding process we’ve been working on over the past two years to move ACEVO from its old brand persona (think Jeremy Paxman: expert, confrontational, elitist) to the new (Michelle Obama: authentic, self-confident, personable). As well as refreshing our vision, we rearticulated our values: to be member-driven, connected, ambitious and honest.

While the vision and values felt more Michelle, the visuals were still definitely Jeremy. So we’ve developed a brighter, cleaner, more confident look for ACEVO. We sharpened up the logo and agreed on mint green as the core brand colour, bringing a vibrant, clean and cheerful tone with a contrasting blue in support. And we’ve created a set of brand statements which showcase some of our key beliefs – that our network offers leadership worth sharing, that good leaders keep learning,  that we’re here to raise our members’ voices and bring leaders together.

The updated brand is most immediately brought to life in our new website, which also launches today (despite a brief technical hitch which notified our members a week too early… sorry about that). The website is fully integrated with our member database making it more user-friendly, easier to access and visually more appealing. Of course, as with any web launch, our mantra is ‘always in beta’ so if you find any glitches do let us know.

We know that being a social sector CEO can be the most brilliant job in the world, but it can also be difficult and draining. At ACEVO, we want to energise and inspire leaders to be the best they can be. To celebrate a culture of imagining better. And to champion leaders who can create a successful, impactful sector with the difference they make.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped us deliver our new brand and website, including designer Mark Bowley from Bowley Design, Guy Pattison, Will Hill and Leah Dennison from Stronger Stories Studios and Ben Knowles from brand and digital transformation agency Digital Garden. Thanks also to Ray Booth, Menai Owen-Jones, Clare Tarling and James Watson-O’Neill, willing ACEVO members who tested the website before it went live and contributed valuable feedback.

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