The London International Development Centre (LIDC) is a consortium of seven University of London institutions that fosters disruptive, interdisciplinary research in international development, such as the Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions, which is developing a scientific evidence base to strengthen global food security. LIDC’s network now comprises over 3,600 talented and dynamic staff, students and alumni from our member institutions. We’ve also delivered high-quality events and training sessions for a range of professionals working in international development.
While proud of the last decade’s accomplishments, going forward we were keen to raise the profile of LIDC’s distinctive contribution to interdisciplinary research in international development. This is crucial in the current political climate and with increasing public scrutiny of international development. We also wanted our members to better understand how LIDC can support their professional development.
A survey of LIDC members told us that they appreciated the unique platform LIDC offers for informed debate and academic critique and offered constructive suggestions for enhancing the organisation’s communications.
We engaged a communications consultant, Emma Swain, to create and manage a visual rebrand. In keeping with LIDC’s commitment to support young professionals and students interested in international development, interns Khadeja Ramali and Mark Jahnke were part of the team, and LIDC Centre Director Professor Claire Heffernan commissioned Fabio Rahmani and Orla O’Connell, part of the University of Reading’s Typography Department ‘Real Jobs’ programme.
The process had clear communications objectives:
- Facilitate new interdisciplinary research proposals
- Recruit new members
- Increase engagement among existing members
- Position LIDC as an organisation at the forefront of international development research
The rebrand would include:
- A new logo and website
- Brand identity/guidelines
- Updated comms and social media strategy
- Enhanced newsletter strategy
From there, Emma worked closely with the core LIDC team to create a vision and roadmap for the website. She held workshops to determine objectives and key audiences, desired functionalities, and content. Furthermore, Emma supported Fabio in creating a website visual design and Dave in the development of the website. Fabio worked closely with Prof. Heffernan to create a modern new logo and branding guidelines.
Furthermore, Mark created a social media strategy in support of the rebrand’s broader communications objectives. As part of this, he audited LIDC’s current performance on our key social media channels and provided recommendations to reach the next generation of development leaders and boost awareness around the organisation’s work.
In April, I came on board as Communications and Public Engagement Manager. I project-managed the final development and migration of the website, as well as formalising LIDC’s communications and social media strategy. Furthermore I created a plan to amplify the organisation’s rebrand across our social and digital channels. I also created a newsletter strategy that would provide targeted email marketing for researchers from member colleges, students and alumni.
On 30th May, LIDC officially rolled out our new brand identity across all our digital and social media channels. Our website showcases achievements and research opportunities, and the latest development events in London, with blogs to share news and views on development issues.
To my mind, email marketing proved the most effective tool to promote our rebrand. I created a special newsletter, which explained the impetus of the rebrand and previewed LIDC’s new visual identity. The newsletter also gave members a sneak peek into LIDC’s enhanced social media channels and explained our new email marketing. Our member institutions promoted the news via their websites as well.
Ultimately our rebrand is about better serving our community, which is leading research with real social impact. Please do visit our new website and let us know what you think.