Our rebranding story
We’re making some changes
We’re not after any ta-dah moments, thrills or surprises. We’re working to align our growing services in Leith and north Edinburgh as we seek to deliver our mission:
“To make a positive impact on people’s lives in Leith and north Edinburgh by providing affordable homes and services, and creating brilliant communities.”
1. Not just a housing association
You may be aware that in recent months and years our organisation has grown into a larger group of organisations (subsidiaries) serving communities in Leith and north Edinburgh.
We are collectively a housing association (PoLHA), mid market rent company (Persevere Developments Ltd), placemaking social enterprise (Quay Community Improvements) and maintenance, boiler and energy service provider (T.B. Mackay).
In order to bring together our services in Leith and north Edinburgh, we are now reviewing our Group’s branding and visual identity.
2. Why now?
You may be asking why we’re changing our branding now. Branding is much more than our logo or what we look like, it shapes the way we exist and operate within the local community. So, why now?
- Despite the name you most likely know us by, we’re no longer solely a housing association. We are a group of subsidiaries providing affordable homes and services within Leith and north Edinburgh.
- While our subsidiaries are distinct from one another, we are all working towards the same strategic goals. We must align our approaches to ensure brilliant service delivery across the Group.
- We’re moving towards a more digital approach. Many elements of our current branding do not work well online as they were designed at a time when print dominated.
- The Group has embarked on a five-year strategy which places community at the heart of what we do. Our branding should reflect the new placemaking and community-focused strands developing alongside our housing services.
- Our current branding has not changed in over two decades and does not reflect how we have grown and changed over that time.
3. The story so far
Earlier in October we held focus groups with a small number of customers, staff and Board members. We heard a wide variety of views, and the appetite for change, while not unanimous, was strong.
Photo: Our Board branding focus group in October 2020.
We have now gathered feedback from all our customers, staff and the wider community. This information will help inform our creative brief. Watch this space!
Following consultations with customers, staff and Board Members a creative brief was handed over to the branding agency we are working with.
In earlier consultations it was apparent that the name ‘Port of Leith Housing Association Group’ was lengthy and confusing to customers of our subsidiaries.
Reviewing the Group name and the names of subsidiaries was incorporated into the creative brief. Initial renaming consultations were held with stakeholders in February 2021.
Due diligence is being carried out on potential name changes that the Group may adopt. Meanwhile, the creative agency are leading on the development of the Group’s visual identity. This will help to differentiate the subsidiaries more clearly and make it easier for customers to access the services relevant to them.
Once due diligence on potential names for the Group is complete we will be preparing to announce the name change to customers ahead of the brand roll out. This won’t happen overnight and the elements of the rebrand will fall into place gradually. Watch this space!
How many subsidiaries does PoLHA have?
The PoLHA Group is made up of Port of Leith Housing Association, Persevere Developments Ltd., Quay Community Improvements, and T.B. Mackay Energy Services.
How is the new branding being funded? Aren’t these kinds of things very expensive?
Spend on the branding project is a very small proportion of our total overhead costs. Overheads are costs incurred as part of the day-to-day running of an organisation and all organisations have them (some examples include IT equipment, staff training and office running costs).
Our overheads are covered by rental income, and income generated from grants and commercial activities of our subsidiaries Persevere Developments and Quay Community Improvements.
We have taken steps to ensure that the new branding is good value for money by securing a charity discount from the specialists helping us with it and by doing as much of the work as possible ourselves.
Why are you spending money on branding instead of on creating homes and improving services?
Value for money is one of the key principles which guides our decision making in everything we do, and we carefully consider the benefit of every pound we spend. The cost associated with the rebrand will be offset many times over by the benefits it will bring for tenants, customers and the organisation. It will help us to present a clear, consistent, modern and professional offer and experience to current and prospective tenants and other customers, to lenders and to other important stakeholders. It will also help us to continue to be viewed as a relevant, trusted and reputable organisation.
We understand the desire for money to be spent on service delivery. In order to have effective services we need to invest in the activities that support them. Failing to invest appropriately in support activities can quickly become a false economy which can lead to missed opportunities, confusion and a poorer customer experience.
Some people think that branding is just about logos and presenting a glossy image. However, it’s about the most important assets any organisation has: its reputation, its customer experience, its offer to customers and how people feel when they interact with it. These are all so valuable that it’s vital that we invest appropriately in them.
Won’t tenants and other customers be confused by the changes?
The introduction of the new branding will be carefully planned and executed to ensure that all existing customers know about the changes and the reasons behind them. This will happen gradually over a period of many months (possibly years). There will not be a “big bang” moment where all traces of Port of Leith Housing Association (and the rest of the Group) suddenly disappear overnight.
It will also help to address some existing confusion by making it clear what each part of our Group does, what services they offer and presenting them as a successful group of organisations all of which are working together to make a positive impact on the lives of people living in Leith and north Edinburgh.
Will this mean the organisation has new email addresses and a new web address?
Yes, these will change to reflect the new branding. However, any messages sent to the previous addresses will automatically be forwarded to us as will anyone searching for us online using the former website address.