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Oxfam International

The Challenge

Help an iconic humanitarian organization redefine their brand positioning and identity for the first time in their 80-year history.

The Insight

Oxfam had to clarify their why, what and how in order to authentically connect with audiences and stand out in a crowded issue space.

The Solution

Refine the positioning from a focus on poverty to equality to reach and recruit more supporters around the world.

Oxfam is a global movement of people who are fighting inequality to end poverty and injustice across regions and in local contexts around the world. Their work is grounded in the commitment to the universality of human rights. Driven by diversity and founding their asks in evidence and experience, they take sides against poverty and injustice everywhere. 

After reading about how we helped Amnesty International attract a new generation of supporters, Oxfam approached us seeking clarity for their brand platform and identity.

This had to be a people first approach to brand partnering with their offices, employees, volunteers and supporters as well as harnessing insights and direction from potential future audiences.

Co-creating how to deconstruct complexity

Historically, Oxfam has always had two core brand associations: alleviating poverty and fighting inequality. Both are large issue areas with lots of complexity and subcategories. This left supporters confused about the core focus Oxfam was looking to achieve and, when it came to explaining it to supporters, it was often hard to know where to start.

In order to unpack this, we reviewed the existing formal research and conducted interviews with 28 stakeholders across the organization as well as two external experts to better understand the challenges, considerations, and insights. We also conducted audience research using insight platforms such as Brandwatch, Statista, and Global Web Index.

Workshopping and working closely with the organization, we arrived at a set of principles outlining the changes we needed to create with the new identity.

Brand Blueprint for Brand Direction with left column labeled from and right column labeled to.

From tackling poverty to overcoming inequality

We explored territories that could clarify mission and values and arrived at three potential options, each of which offered a different balance between rational and emotional, organizational view, and audience/impact view. 

We then tested the options and explored them across countries and with the global team, leading us to a clear path forward — equality. Over half of the audience agreed equality is not a privilege but a human right. That led to a new tagline: Equal rights, equal opportunities.

The future is equal

By evolving the brand to focus on Equality, we helped Oxfam to clarify its position in the humanitarian space. Equality represents a single, powerful unifying purpose, one that differentiates Oxfam, defining who the organization is, what work they do, what they’re working towards, and ultimately believe in. Whilst poverty and inequality will always be central to Oxfam’s story, the territory of Equality positions the organization as one that has a broader vision and direction for the future.

After aligning on the core shift, we moved to brand articulation, narrative, and messaging that explored ways for the revised identity to come to life across different contexts, cultures, and languages.

We continued to closely engage 25 organizational stakeholders and a wider network of 70+. We conducted message testing across 17 markets and in four languages. Audiences were shown the following paragraph and asked to choose three words which describe to describe how it made them feel:

For too long, inequality has led to poverty and injustice. We must do better for each other and for the planet.

There is no time to lose. It’s a lack of power – not just a lack of food or money – that holds people back from having a dignified life. But a radically better world is within our grasp, if we move power from the few to the many, give people a say in the decisions that affect their lives, and ensure equal rights and opportunities. We are unstoppable when we move together with immediacy, dedication, and urgency. The future starts now with one idea, one act, one person – it starts with you. The future is equal.

Paragraph used for message testing that engaged with 25 organizational stakeholders to have their audiences react in three words for how it made them feel.

The responses to this paragraph were overwhelmingly positive, with the three most popular descriptors being: Hopeful, Motivated and Inspired. 

Audiences noted how the new messaging brought a sense of togetherness, identifying a problem and a solution and communicating that change was possible – it was optimistic and hopeful. The chance to stand out within the sector that we were looking for.

The resulting visuals and wording that we shaped alongside the team aimed to deliver an intent that we can will it to be so if we visualize it and act with courage.

Communicating brand, fundraising, advocacy and issues

With our positioning, wider narrative and key message ready to go – we now needed to work closely with teams across the organization to understand the nuance to bring to different work streams within Oxfam International.

Our emotive brand brook brought together the brand strategy, articulation, expression, and different applications into one, central repository. Oxfamers could see how our thinking came to life in print, wallpapered on the street, on phones and social media. A new graphical route and set of colors brought a bolder departure from some of the traditionalism of the previous positioning and set the tone of forward-thinking feminism. 

We changed the lighter non-accessible green to a new green that is AA accessible, and added another new AAA accessible green to the palette as well. Inclusivity was at the heart of our graphic and copy design shaping mantras designed to ensure our proposition could resonate with both the sixty-year-old long term donor and teenager keen to find a cause with which to partner. 

Sample applications and template for social media

Immersion sessions brought together hundreds of Oxfam team members from across the globe to build momentum around the new brand identity. With cross timezone ‘train the trainers’ sessions equipping team members with the knowledge and tools to own and develop the platform from idea into delivery with a digital first approach.

Graphic visual guide for digital first visual identity

And, we’re also delighted to be helping Oxfam USA bring this renewed view and offering evolution to life with their supporters across paid media and email as their retained digital agency of record. More to come soon on how we are helping them test new ways to engage their audiences and build a sophisticated and strategic supporter-centric digital strategy.

OHCR data since launch of new version in March 2022

Since the launch of the new version of the site in late March 2022, the increase in visitors has been almost constant. The number and duration of sessions have increased significantly, and the bounce rate is significantly lower. The number of pages viewed per session has decreased slightly, but this was a desired outcome of the reorganization, as this indicates that visitors are finding information more easily. Overall, the data suggests the content and structure are doing a better job engaging and meeting the needs of visitors of all backgrounds, which was the primary aim of the strategy.


  • 1st brand evolution in 80-year history
  • 20+ markets live around the world
  • 30+ assets created to launch new brand platform
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