Toronto Humane Society rebrands, introduces new tagline: ‘Like no other’

Who: The Toronto Humane Society and Ramp Communications.

What: A new brand design/identity and campaign called “Like no other.” The goal is to communicate that the Toronto Humane Society is more than just an animal shelter, while also emphasizing the depth of the bond between humans and animals. The rebrand is part of a new strategic direction, described as “A plan to improve the lives of animals and build a more compassionate society.”

When & Where: The new brand design has been rolled out across all of the Toronto Humane Society’s consumer touch-points—including a revamped website—with campaign elements running from July 5 through Aug. 13. The campaign component includes Facebook and Instagram ads, programmatic, digital and traditional out-of-home, a broadcast integration on Breakfast Television, and a featured post on blogTO.

Why: Research conducted with more than 1,000 Toronto residents and stakeholders (including board members, donors, volunteers and staff), found that Toronto Humane Society had high aided awareness, but low unaided awareness behind organizations such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and PetSmart.

While most pet owners had a good opinion of the Toronto Humane Society, more than one-third of respondents knew very little about the organization. And while the majority of pet owners surveyed had not interacted with The Humane Society, a significant number said they would still recommend the organization.

Research also found that there is little differentiation between various humane societies, and that the scope of the brand had been very narrowly defined: A shelter where animals are rescued and can be adopted. That resulted in little emphasis on its range of services, such as research, rescue, veterinary care, etc.

How: The new brand identity is designed to complete several objectives, from conveying the Toronto Humane Society as compassionate, influential, creative, proactive, intelligent and inclusive, while speaking to both its emotional and more rational/functional sides.

Tina Fernandez, Ramp’s VP strategy and client services, said that the “Like no other” tagline is highly flexible, allowing Toronto Humane Society to convey its range of programs and services through the use of descriptors like “Love like no other” and “veterinary care like no other.”

The redesign includes a new logo and a colour-coded design system with the letter “U” in the word “humane” presented in a different colour to convey the organization’s various facets. Purple denotes its veterinary expertise, for example, while orange represents its research, and turquoise its rescue and sheltering capabilities.

The creative is also intended to move away from the animal welfare category’s typical playbook, which tends to focus on and celebrate the animals and often shows them in distress. Ramp determined that no organization in the category was tapping into the experience of pet relationships and the depth of the human-animal bond. A series of three videos show people interacting with their pet rather than showing animals

And we quote: “With a 100-plus year legacy, and a reputation solely as a shelter, it was time to help people rethink Toronto Humane Society. We wanted to tap into something unique for our category and that was the relationship between pet parents and their pets. That human-animal bond is so critical and our entire organization and new brand is about celebrating and strengthening that.“ —Phil Nichols, chief operating officer, Toronto Humane Society

Chris Powell