Social Enterprise Identifier

Social Enterprise Identifier

At a meeting on 10 September, the Social Enterprise Identifier Steering Group agreed to continue to develop a brand identity for social enterprise.

Research carried out by HPI and funded by the Office of the Third Sector was presented at the meeting and one of its key findings was a widespread support for a collective identity for social enterprise. The research also looked into proposals concerning a tiered system of business identifiers and possible designs for the identifiers. It involved focus groups and individual interviews, with a wide range of stakeholders (the general public, commissioners, supporters of social enterprise, and social enterprises). 

The research found that we need to keep things simple. Because of this, the steering group have decided to focus on a single business identifier and an awareness campaign, instead of a three-tiered system that was initially proposed.  As a result, we are now proceeding with the development of one identifier for social enterprises, with the criteria used by RISE for the current social enterprise mark as a foundation. The steering group is considering some modifications to these criteria – the aim is that the identifier must be robust and give significant added value to social enterprises, and also must allow for maximum take up by as many social enterprises as possible.

The steering group also thinks there could be value in some carefully controlled use of a generic brand image – for example for use by the specialist social enterprise support agencies, for specific purposes, and we will be looking into this further. 

Finally, various design options were tested in the research and the one that performed the best was a new and vibrant visual image based on an evolution of the RISE mark. The steering group unanimously agreed, and that is now undergoing further development. 

The next step is to figure out how best to go forward to make this into a sustainable project with a viable business plan. In the coming weeks, decisions will be made on how best to proceed on this front.

Chair of the steering group, Steve Wyler, said “We believe that a business identifier for social enterprise – and a sustainable mechanism behind it – is critical if we want to move social enterprise into the mainstream. The mark pioneered by RISE has laid the foundation, and we are now working towards taking a shared visual identity to the next level.
“Ultimately, we want to see thousands of organisations using the identifier. We still have a way to go and we have to continue to work hard to get this right, but I believe this is a really exciting venture and one that could potentially go very far in raising awareness and understanding of social enterprise – something that I think we would all agree is a high priority.“

-The Social Enterprise Identifier Steering Group