Kids Help Phone debuts new branding

The organization modernizes to be seen as more than a "crisis only" service.


Kids Help Phone has debuted new branding as part of an effort to modernize and reach young people more effectively as it supports their overall mental health and well being.

Besides being an overall more modern look for the organization’s logo, the new branding doesn’t include its phone number and website as the previous branding did. Melanie Simons, director of marketing, communications and community engagement for Kids Help Phone, says the branding is meant to make the organization more relevant to young people living in a digital age.

“The old logo was very focused on the function,” she says. “It was important to communicate the number and the website, because an organization like ours having a website was new at that time. Now having a website is an expectation, so including the number and website in a logo was very overwhelming and it made us seem like more of a crisis line. We might be relevant for someone else, but not themselves.”

While Kids Help Phone does offer crisis services, it is one part of the counselling services it offers. It was also seen, in the eyes of young people, as place to turn when you’re being bullied, but it also offer them support for issues including sexuality, identity, relationships, stress about school or work and general emotional well being.

“The brand identity expressed more of a somber approach because was what was done in mental health and well being at the time,” Simons says. “Today, the stigma around mental health and well being is becoming less and less every year. It’s an issue, but one the public is talking about more often. And young people are getting more involved and proactive in their mental health. So we needed to have a more inclusive and positive tone to speak to the full spectrum of mental health and well being services we can offer them.”

J. Walter Thompson Canada worked with Kids Help Phone on the new branding, including its development, strategy and creating new brand guidelines.

The new branding has also come with an updated website that is mobile responsive to best reach young people on the platform they are on most often (47% of traffic to the Kids Help Phone site was through mobile). The content on the site covering issues kids might be facing was previously much longer, but is now shorter and more digestible to fit with the length of content they are used to consuming online. The organization has also developed a new chat app, allowing kids to reach a Kids Help Phone counselor on a platform that is quickly becoming their preferred form of interaction.

Later this month, Kids Help Phone will also launch a new social media campaign. The concept was partially inspired by a campaign JWT and Kids Help Phone did last year that used a 360-degree Facebook photo to show that the things kids post on social often don’t show the full story of the emotionally trying things they may be facing.

2In the new campaign, Instagram and Facebook videos will appear to be the typical kind of post you’d see from a teen, showing them doing things like hanging out on the beach, playing with their dog or being at the gym. But when the sound is turned on, it plays an imagined coversation between that teen and a Kids Help Phone counselor, revealing that on the inside, they are dealing with issues like eating disorders, questions about their sexuality or the stress and anxiety of school.

“There is an illusion of perfection of social media,” Simons says. “Kids are aware of this, but despite that, there are still a lot of pressures young people face on social media to keep up appearances. The focus of this is to shed light on the real issues that young people are facing, no matter what it looks like on the outside.”

JWT also led creative on this campaign (it has worked with Kids Help Phone for a number of years, but won a new RFP to handle a new youth-focused campaign), with Society Etc. on media.