Changing perceptions of human rights through hope and humanity
Evolving a historic brand to more accurately embody their mission, their people, and the global movement they represent.
Putting empathy, humanity, and inclusion at the core of their identity was essential to increasing relevance to a new generation of activists.
We collaborated on a top-down and bottom-up approach to ensure we co-created a new brand story that reflected Amnesty International’s promise to the world, and the people who will create, use, and experience it.
Amnesty International approached us at a crossroads.
As a global leader in the human rights movement, they had a historic track record of campaigning to end human rights abuses — but knew they must evolve to do more. Their values weren’t understood consistently across the movement, and what worked for years had become less effective in a time of increased polarization.
They were seeking a new brand positioning and narrative that would inspire action, attract a new generation of supporters, and potentially even evolve the definition of human rights itself — and it needed to be effective and inclusive in the over 150 countries and territories where they work.
Finding the answers in people
Amnesty International’s brand has historically been about fighting injustice. But in a wider landscape of distrust, they needed a message that was more positive and emotional in order to cut through. To help their brand represent the people behind their movement, we put global co-creation at the heart of this project, seeking insight from across the organization and its movement.
To kick it off, we held six workshops with 58 representatives spanning 18 countries to explore brand territories and define a value proposition.
We asked these activists and organizers to share what inspired them about Amnesty International, their challenges, and their vision for the future of the global human rights movement. We found that it was time to move on from the traditional images of injustice or poverty, and instead show uplifting solutions.
These workshops were also full of honesty. Participants wanted a renewed focus on the commitment and clarity of this grassroots movement, and the need to demonstrate long-term transformational change.
Next, we went to the audiences. We engaged youth leaders through workshops and surveys, employed social listening, and tested propositions with a global audience of young people. What we heard was inspiring: Young people see the challenges we face but believe human rights are the light that will lead the way forward.
Young people acknowledge that no movement can achieve everything, but for them Amnesty International is the one organisation that helps them speak their truth and most importantly gives them the hope that we can change people’s minds.”
This top-down and bottom-up approach helped us identify the most pressing challenges for the brand and co-create a new platform that puts people at the center.
Making human rights popular
We created a flexible, modular brand platform with a clear purpose, and a brand narrative and proposition that was centered around humanity. The new brand messaging conveyed what Amnesty International was for, not just against, in a way that would encourage and inspire activists everywhere. This wasn’t just about brand — it was about making human rights popular.
We showed how a common set of values could still be flexible across different regions and cultures, and included a slew of creative activations and ideas. Finally, we worked with Amnesty International to form a core brand working group, empowering them to take full ownership of this project internally.
We’re proud to have helped this historic organization take the next step forward, and believe that putting hope and humanity at the core of the brand’s story can help reframe human rights for the 21st century.
Campaign ideation mockups.
In this era of fake news and divisive political rhetoric, the truth needs more help to keep pace with the lies. To shift public opinion towards humanity and empathy, we need to make human rights popular. To do that, we need more than anger, blame, and fear. We need solutions, values and vision. Above all we need hope. And that’s what this new brand platform will create.”
Thomas Coombes, former Head of Brand for Amnesty International