Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
A progressive school of thought
Project case study: Rebranding project for LSTM
Client: Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM)
Sector: Education and Knowledge Transfer
Following receipt of a £23m award from the Gates Foundation, The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine extended its research facilities and commissioned a rebranding exercise to position the school at the forefront of global scientific research.
Part of the University of Liverpool, The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) was founded in November 1898 by Liverpool shipping magnate, Sir Alfred Lewis Jones. With decades of history and heritage behind its mission to research and educate to save lives, the new LSTM brand needed to position the registered charity as a world authority in the research and treatment of tropical diseases.
Beyond business as usual
LSTM’s new ultra-modern research facilities create a startling juxtaposition next to the school’s original red brick buildings.
To reflect the changes that were taking place on site, we needed to develop a visual identity that would bring the LSTM brand into the 21st century, without losing sight of the school’s long and celebrated history.
The challenge was in finding the right balance between the creation of a modern brand with a classic twist and a classic brand with a modern twist.
The idea of changing the long-established LSTM brand came up against multiple levels of resistance across the school. The key to our success, was to include people within the organisation, engage them in our creative process, and demonstrate empathy with their position.
“This was a research project in and of itself and demanded an investigative approach that would bring people within the school along on the journey to develop a brand that would reflect their new and elevated position in the world.”Keith Noble, Director
We invited people from across the school to take part in the rebranding process, from the scientists at the front line of research to students and support staff. This inclusion allowed people to feel heard and to know that their opinions mattered.
Through a series of collaborative and consultative workshops, we were able to explore where people felt that the school was at the time, and where they felt the investment could take it. These collaborations demonstrated to those involved that a brand evolution was needed to reposition LSTM as a leader in its field.
A vital part of this project was maintaining the balance between developing a rebrand that would support the school’s vision while retaining the ongoing support of existing stakeholders.
Our role with the rebrand and repositioning exercise was to reflect the fact that embracing change and innovation is in the DNA of LSTM as they try to find the cure for different diseases around the world.
Making the complex simple
By taking an inclusive approach, we were able to explore the rationale that sat behind the original brand. And, as we looked at the sense of adventure that’s to be found beyond Liverpool’s Docks, the sailing ships that travelled to tropical climates, and the impact that the school’s work has had worldwide, people engaged with us in the rebranding and repositioning process.
“In a way, where the new brand came from has absolutely nothing to do with tropical medicine, but everything to do with tropical medicine. In fact, its origins came from ideas and conversations and research and understanding that allowed us to start making these connections and come up with concepts and ideas that reflected the organisation and that felt right for them.”Keith Noble, Director
Working in collaboration allowed for open discussion and the sharing of contributions and opinions from people across the school. It also revealed a wealth of alternative perspectives from the different teams and departments.
Delivering the unexpected
The original brand looked like a Viking ship from the front with an all-seeing eye, so we evolved the idea of the sail, of adventure, and exploring new horizons. We included the people at LSTM in reviewing the different iterations we created to hear their opinions and thoughts on where we were taking the brand. This allowed them to add their thinking into the work that we did and further included them in the branding process.
“A fantastic brand identity that is relevant on a number of levels and more than exceeds the requirement in the original brief.”Alan Hughes, Communications Manager, LSTM
To help the organisation start to incorporate its new identity, we developed a brand mission, vision, and values, all of which could be demonstrated throughout the business.
And, to help the team embed the new identity in the day-to-day running of the school, we developed a full set of brand guidelines and an implementation programme, which specified a wide range of assets, from a brand signature to large-scale external branded signage.
Making the work, work harder
An indirect spin-off from this project was the development of two additional sibling brands, for which we repurposed and reused some of the development work on a smaller scale.
Following on from the brand redesign and development, LSTM asked for our support with the production of their annual reports and a suite of assets for their events.
The new brand identity and communications guide are now being used to support the future development of the school in continuing its invaluable work.
Its application is visible both across LSTM, in the two sibling brands that stemmed from its creation, and most recently on the evening news when representatives from the school were seen commenting on the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“If you want the usual design agency service, don’t use Forepoint. If you want to work with professionals who intuitively understand your needs and guarantee that you will be delighted with the end result, don’t use anyone else!”Alan Hughes, Communications Manager, LSTM
The inclusive development programme we undertook was pivotal in defining the LSTM brand and all that it represents. It also ensured the enduring buy-in and collective brand ownership of everyone involved.
The new identity for LSTM was hailed as a major success. The team described it as ‘a modern, clear and recognisable brand, one that will support the institution’s purpose and mission to improve human health in the poorest communities.’
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