Rebranding the Chamber: An insight to Dorset Chamber’s new identity

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Stuart Dixon

Three years ago, Dorset Chamber’s Head of Marketing, Stuart Dixon set his sights on rebranding Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

2019, the company’s landmark 70th year was the perfect time to do it. So how do you rebrand a Chamber of Commerce? Focus speaks to Stuart about the project and the step change in the Chamber’s brand identity.

Why did you decide now to rebrand Dorset Chamber?
Dorset Chamber has changed massively over the last few years, both in our services, infrastructure and in our business objectives and our logo was no longer representing us appropriately.
Rebranding the Chamber was something I wanted to do the moment I walked into Chamber House and I am delighted that we have been able to create some space within our busy schedule
to complete this project. Our 70th birthday is the perfect time for us to make the change.

Was the rebrand a long process?
Not at all. We wanted a quick turnaround, so it was critical that we were clear in what we wanted to achieve and wrote a very detailed brief for our creative business partners, Digital Storm. The brief had very specific parameters that still allowed for a generous play of creativity. Having made some organic changes to our brand over the last couple of years, in our choice of photography, colours, office space and messaging, we have been able to fast track the project and there was no need to waste time in overthinking the creative direction. We were really pleased when we received the first round of visuals as we gained a lot of confidence that all involved were on the same page. I think what also helped us along is the fact that I have been involved in rebrand projects many times both client side as well as agency side, so I could ensure that the process has no surprises and that all the needs were met for all parties involved.

Did you have many stakeholders involved in the project?
We had a project lead and ensured the wider Chamber team had input. Our Chief Executive and the rest of the board were fully supportive and excited to see it through.

Why have you opted to reference the Chamber as ’Dorset Chamber’ rather than your full name?
From a communications standpoint Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a bit of mouthful and within a logo it becomes problematic due to legibility when the logo size is reduced. To solve this, we shortened the name. Anonyms can work but not in our case, using ‘DCCI’, means nothing to anyone who is first introduced to us and our goal is to remove all barriers to our brand and the understanding of our organisation. Officially we are still very much Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but our communications will be presented as Dorset Chamber going forward.


Dorset Chamber rebrand

What was the brief?
As a chamber you have a big challenge in trying to be all things to all businesses. That is most definitely our biggest challenge, however we know our audience and their needs very well and our mission as a Chamber is clear, to support our membership to grow and prosper. This was very much the starting point, but there were many additional elements for us to consider. For example, we needed to ensure that we communicated our link to the British Chamber of Commerce but also our independence, our belief in that we are all stronger together in a business community than in isolation and that we are not a governmental body.

We also needed to modernise our brand to better communicate our relevance in the current digital world and attract new businesses to our community – but not at the expense of our existing members. Our logo also needed to be flexible to work across social media channels as well as traditional ones – our previous logo was out-dated and problematic in this area.

Dorset Chamber rebrand

What advice would you give a business thinking about rebranding?

  • Understand with clarity your mission and audience first and write a clear brief that outlines not only what you are but also what you’re not. This enables your designers to focus and nail your vision quickly and prevent any creative off-roading, which can impact your deadlines, resources and costs.
  • Ensure you have strong communication during the project with everyone involved. No-one likes surprises whatever side of the project you are on and this can be avoided with a clear and open dialogue from the start.
  • Have someone in your team who can manage the project from start to finish and keep the project rolling and to avoid bottle necks and delays.
  • Involve key stakeholders and your wider team for feedback but ensure you have someone to lead it and make the key decisions. Voting on brand elements can dilute the idea rather than enhance it.

Stuart has been Head of Marketing and Communications at Dorset Chamber for over 3 years following a varied and successful career over the last 20 years working within digital agencies, publishing houses and LUSH. Stuart joined Dorset Chamber looking to make a significant difference to both the Chamber and the wider business community, and he has been fulfilling this goal through his work in leading the last 3 Dorset Business Awards and Dorset Chamber’s marketing strategy.