Brand Identity Design: Oxfam Shop

Each year, Oxfam Shop purchases over $4 million of Fair Trade and ethical goods from partners and makes a practical difference to the lives of thousands of artisans.

Oxfam Shop is part of a movement for change – creating a trade and retail network that empowers individuals, communities and organisations to build a future free from unfair and unethical trade practices.

They empower artisans and their creativity to flourish through fair and ethical trade. This brand identity project focused on making this instantly visible to everyone.

As Oxfam Shop’s audience grows, their brand and public messaging needed a shift to reflect new consumers, who are simultaneously professional, fashionable and socially conscious.

From originally having a strong focus on imagery and stories of the producer partners that Oxfam work with a decision was made to try and take the Oxfam Shops into a more mainstream market which saw a more specific focus on price points, lifestyle imagery as well as product attributes.

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These patterns were developed as a core element to the Oxfam Shop redesign – to focus on the unique, spirited nature of the brand and to represent worldly products and culture.

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As brands ‘represents reliable qualities and images’, the Oxfam Shop brand was developed to highlight this brand authenticity, yet still be flexible to adopt to current trends (Rothacher, 2004).

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According to Keller (1993), a brand’s image not only comprises the structure but also the favorability of an associative network. It is these ‘networks’ of brand architecture that were explored in this project, especially in relation to the charity sector and the benefits of the products from a retail perspective – how to better align Oxfam Shop with the brand benefits that are non product-related.

The favorability of a brand network can be illustrated by three elements: the favorability of brand attributes, brand benefits, and consumers´ general brand attitudes.

Attributes represent those descriptive product-related and non product-related features that characterize a product. Functional, experiential, and symbolic benefits represent the personal value consumers attach to the product attributes, (Keller, 1993).

For Oxfam Shop to align more with the broader work of the Oxfam confederation, the benefits of buying from an ethical retailer need to take a secondary focus in favour of promoting the experience of Oxfam and the personal benefits consumer will get with associating with the brand.

These personal benefits are important to target, as researchers into non-profit branding describe how people possess stereotypes of organizations merely based on the knowledge that a firm is a for-profit or not-for-profit (Aaker, Vohs, & Mogilner, 2010).

Oxfam Shop needed to highlight the not-for-profit angle, to evoke the same brand emotions as the international Oxfam confederation, yet not loose sight of it’s retail origin, or the products it sells.

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When perceiving brands, people’s judgments often fall along two primary dimensions, namely, how much they exude warmth and competence (Judd et al. 2005). The branding of Oxfam Shop needs to fit within both categories, that as a non-profit, it is indeed a ‘warm’ brand but the products we sell are as high a standard as any for-profit company.

Although definitions vary, warmth judgments typically include perceptions of generosity, kindness, honesty, sincerity, helpfulness, trustworthiness, and thoughtfulness, whereas competence judgments include confidence, effectiveness, intelligence, capability, skillfulness, and competitiveness (Aaker 1997; Grandey et al. 2005; Judd et al. 2005; Yzerbyt, Provost, and Corneille 2005).

For Oxfam Shop to fit within both categories, they need to closely link with the wider work of Oxfam yet demonstrate superior products, within the ethical retail space.

Additionally demonstrating warmth suggests a motivation to be other-focused (Cuddy, Fiske, and Glick 2008). This is an essential part of ethical trade, and the warmth of the brand fits within our brand values, targeting socially conscious shoppers and focusing brand benefits on social change and feeling good through buying gifts that give back to communities and alleviating poverty.

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Oxfam Shop’s public messaging was shifted to be based on the below:

Oxfam Shop. Empowering people.

We make a real difference, create real change for real people.

Oxfam Shop improves the livelihoods of people, by investing in and empowering producers and their communities. We make a difference not only through paying a fair price to our producers, but investing in their communities, helping to bring their products to market and having a long term commitment – helping to lift people out of poverty and thrive.

We create real change through our impact as a not-for-profit and our ability to work directly with our producers around the world.

We have a personal connection in helping develop products ready for trade and provide practical knowledge on exporting to new markets.

You are at the center of this global movement. Your purchases make the difference and help us work with more producer partners and work in more communities.

Make everyday giving more ethical with Oxfam Shop.

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