Voice partners with not-for-profit, Travellers Aid to develop new brand

Working on iconic not-for-profit brands is a delicate business. They’ve often been part of the public consciousness for a long time, are associated with milestones and memories, and many people have an emotional attachment to them. Travellers Aid is one such brand.

This unique not-for-profit has been active in Victoria for more than 100 years. Originally set up to assist Victorian ladies and young children to negotiate public transport and identify safe accommodation, Travellers Aid has evolved and adapted to fulfil a broader objective of helping people travelling in Victoria to make journeys every day. This includes helping people who might have mobility challenges or people who find themselves in difficulty during a journey.

“Where a journey becomes difficult, or people are struggling, we want them to know that there is an organisation here that may help them get from point A to point B in a little bit more comfort and safety,” says Travellers Aid Chief Executive Officer, Elias Lebbos. “We want people to be participating in their communities and we work to help minimise social isolation and barriers to travel.”

Travellers Aid provide advice, a place to rest and recuperate, and even has buggies to help people get around. They operate services at Southern Cross, Flinder Street and Seymour train stations and they can also help you get to the MCG!

Earlier this year, when Travellers Aid realised that it needed to better communicate what it does and raise awareness of its service, it commissioned research to determine whether the organisation’s name needed to change. The answer was an emphatic ‘no’.

“So our question was, how do we get people to recognise and understand what we do from our name and visual representation of our brand? We needed to position the organisation as one that is moving forward and sees itself as relevant for the next 100 years.”

“We needed to work with people that would understand that our organisation wanted to be more commercial but at the same time that it had not lost its heart and soul as an institution that’s been providing services to the community for more than 100 years.​”

Elias Lebbos, Travellers Aid CEO

Working with Melbourne and Auckland-based award-winning Specialist Brand Agency VOICE proved to be a crucial collaboration.

“We needed to work with people that would understand that our organisation wanted to be more commercial but at the same time that it had not lost its heart and soul as an institution that’s been providing services to the community for more than 100 years.”

“We wanted to work with a brand agency that was going to collaborate with us and wouldn’t just read the brief, do the work, and disappear. We wanted an agency that was flexible, was keen to help us understand branding, and wanted to leave a legacy once they’d done the job.”

Voice’s ability to listen set them apart, says Elias.

“Like every organisation, everyone’s going to have a different opinion. The project could have easily got out of hand, but the Voice team made the effort to listen and take what they had heard on board and respond to it, even when the result people wanted wasn’t achievable. They gave it a go and were able to come back and say this ain’t working.”

“They were without a doubt easy to work with and had the ability to really understand our organisation. They nailed the brief and really understood what we wanted and needed. It didn’t seem like this was just a project, but the start of a relationship that goes beyond invoicing for the work that’s been done. There was a genuine commitment to ensure that when my team and I walked away from this project we were going to speak highly of Voice.”

“They kept us briefed and provided examples along the way. There was a stage where we needed some changes made and they needed some greater clarity so we worked through that and got our decisionmakers together and we thrashed it out.”

Branding projects require clarity and commitment, says Elias, and he would advise any not-for-profit organisation looking at its brand to do some deep thinking first.

“Be certain of the purpose and the reason why you’re doing it. Do it because you genuinely have a challenge associated with your brand, which we did.”

“Working with charitable and purposeful organisations like Travellers Aid is important to us,” says Voice Principal, Jonathan Sagar. “We really seek to understand the challenges they face and work alongside them to do great work that creates the meaningful and lasting results they’re looking for. It’s all about trust in the end. We’re delighted Travellers Aid trust us, just like the Victorian community trust them.”

Voice began working on the Travellers Aid brand refresh in July 2019 and the new look was launched on 16 October in Melbourne.

The new brand is now being rolled out progressively. A permanent hoarding on the concourse of Flinders Street station will soon be visible along with updated lounges in both Southern Cross station and Flinders Street station. You may also spot rebranded mobility buggies bustling about Southern Cross station in the near future.

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