Heart & Stroke’s big change

The first major brand refresh in over 60 years debuts alongside a new creative campaign.

Heart & Stroke new logo ENG

The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada has undergone its first major brand transformation in more than 60 years, putting the focus onto life’s most seemingly insignificant moments.

Now simply known as Heart & Stroke, the organization undertook an RFP to find a partner for its new branding, ultimately selecting Pentagram to create its new brand identity. A new logo design, a simple heart and literal stroke symbol paired together, is meant to have what the design shop calls a “democratic visual personality” and ability to transcend languages.

“It’s quite a visual departure from the medical look of the past,” Geoff Craig, chief marketing and communications officer at Heart & Stroke, says of the new branding.

In 2011, Heart & Stroke’s various provincial associations amalgamated into one national organization. This branding move is to help create a more consistent approach, including across its major fundraising programs, such as Jump Rope for Heart.

The organization also teamed up with Huge in Toronto to redesign its website for a cleaner approach, also creating groups like “donors,” “health seekers,” and “volunteers” for a more personalized user experience.

While the brand transformation is visual and design-focused, Craig says it also speaks to larger transformations happening at the organization, including a new research strategy, greater focus on women’s health, advocating for policies around children’s health and indigenous health.

Like many charities, Heart & Stroke is fighting for its share of Canadians’ wallets, but it hasn’t shifted entirely when it comes to its target, still focused largely on 35 to 50-year-olds with a sweet spot among those 50 and older, Craig says. Those tend to be the people who are having personal experiences seeing loved ones experience heart disease and strokes and who also have more disposable income for potential donations.

To bring its renewed message to life, Heart & Stroke teamed up with Geoffrey Roche and Jack Harding of Poolhouse (while heading up Lowe Roche several years back, Roche worked on the charity’s “Make Death Wait” campaign).

This time around, the spotlight is on the real life moments that matter most.

When recovering from heart disease or stroke, people want normality back, Roche says. To convey that, Poolhouse scoured social media to collect short clips of the most seemingly insignificant moments to illustrate everyday slices of life, creating roughly 20 online spots with the “Life. You Don’t Want to Miss It.” tagline.

Those spots are being shared on Heart & Stroke’s social channels, along with receiving some pro bono support on TV and running some print ads.

Poolhouse has also created a series of radio PSAs, voiced by celebrities with personal experience with heart disease and strokes, talking about “FAST”  the symptoms to look out for to recognize a stroke (face, arms, speech, time).

Many people still don’t understand how to recognize a stroke and those first moments are precious in terms of survival and recovery, Roche says, noting that he was inspired by the story of a young boy who had been educated about “FAST” and ensured his grandfather made it to the hospital in a hurry when having a stroke.

Heart & Stroke is working with Edelman on PR.

Correction: This article originally stated incorrectly that Heart & Stroke worked with Huge in New York and provided incorrect information about a merchandise partnership. Strategy regrets the error.