The Huntercombe Group

A re-energising brand evolution reflecting specialist, transformative care that’s all about people.

The Huntercombe Group is a leading independent provider of specialist mental health, neuro-rehabilitation and complex care services across the UK. A trusted, expert partner to the NHS and local authorities, Huntercombe pride themselves on being able to care for people with the most challenging needs, requiring the greatest level of support, yet little emphasis had been placed on how the organisation presented itself.

Under new leadership and direction, with a new organisational strategy and strong growth agenda, rbl was engaged to develop a new brand strategy and identity to realise their ambitions, representing and repositioning Huntercombe for success.

We consulted extensively with staff, partners and commissioners and listened to patient and family testimonials to discover the real people and stories behind every part of the organisation. Staff were extremely committed to delivering highly specialised care in often challenging circumstances, but they didn’t always feel recognised or fully valued. Communication was siloed and lacking across the Group, with positive stories and outcomes not always shared.

Unanimously people felt the current brand didn’t represent what the organisation was about – it lacked personality, felt one dimensional, dated and reserved.

It quickly became clear that the Group was quite decentralised operationally because each service had a very specific and specialist care offer. As a result, every service had a developed a strong local identity and character that they were proud of, with staff and patients engaging with the organisation at this level, rather than with Huntercombe.

To create an authentic and compelling brand proposition and identity for all, we focused on finding the common threads and shared beliefs amongst staff, and the stories of recovery, of hope and positive outcomes that united the organisation, whilst still protecting and celebrating the individual strengths of each service that we knew were so important.

We needed to lift the lid on this hidden gem.

Our core proposition ‘transformative’ was crafted to reflect the essential spirit and approach to care that ran through every part of the organisation - highly specialist, dedicated, hands-on and collaborative teamwork, with a deep belief in every person who needed support and a focus on helping them positively improve.

We expressed this in the strapline ‘Specialists in care. Believers in people’, setting the foundations for a much stronger, ownable tone of voice. Direct, positive, and emotive storytelling with the collective voices of patients and staff at the heart.

We designed the visual identity to reflect a much warmer, inclusive, and personal feel yet with the confidence and impact to stand apart from other care brands. A vibrant colour palette, dynamic visual language, and tactile, textured patterns conveyed a much more human, hands-on and active approach, and challenged typical sector conventions.

The progressive rebrand was also designed to reflect the genuine warmth and personality of each service, as well as resonate with a much younger audience, both in terms of the young people that they regularly support and the next generation of care workers that they want to attract to work for them.

We have supported Huntercombe through every step of this brand evolution, creating an authentic story for the organisation that staff can be proud of, patients and families can trust, and partners can believe in, helping them to raise their profile and communicate much more effectively to everyone who needs them.

Creating a shared identity and language based on the common ideas, beliefs and values that exist across the Group, but that is still flexible and customisable has enabled the organisation to be coherent but still remain relevant at a local level.

The new look and feel provides the visual framework and inspiration for a whole suite of new communications from service information and impact reports, to signage and uniforms, to social media templates and a brand new website.

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“rbl have helped us to develop our brand in a way that’s truly authentic and meaningful. With a sharper, more engaging identity we can now better reflect who we are on the inside to the outside world. rbl’s natural co-creative approach has meant all our colleagues have felt part of the journey, and that their voices are now represented in the new Huntercombe story. Our new brand represents the renewed focus and optimism we have about the future, and signals the impact we want to make.”

Sylvia Tang
Chief Executive Officer, The Huntercombe Group