How the Red Cross has it Wrong

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The American Red Cross has rolled out a refinement to their logo. What they should have done is refine their brand architecture.

Image result for american red cross los angeles logo

Making the logo look like a pin is a cute (if contrived) idea, and 3D effects are a little 2005 for us. We’ll leave more comprehensive critiques to the commenters at Brand New, but this refinement of the identity seems like a big lost opportunity to us.

Who, besides its employees, calls the American Red Cross anything but the Red Cross? Sure, it’s a distinct organization, as are the British Red Cross, la Cruz Roja Española and la croix-rouge française. But they’re all part of one incredibly powerful global brand, and they should identify themselves that way.

Think it can’t be done? Look at Deloitte, or Ernst & Young.

Deloitte and E&Y are powerful, unified global brands, but each organization is made up of dozens of separate member companies. Each of the members has a distinct legal name, but uses the global brand name for its identity. Both organizations have central groups that coordinate global strategy, much like the IFRC in the case of the Red Cross organizations.

Somewhere in the fine print of the Geneva Conventions that give the IFRC its charter we’re sure there are rules about how affiliates should be named. It’s time to change them. Or, faster yet, ignore them.

We’re not suggesting all of the IFRC’s affiliated groups use the English words ‘Red Cross’ for their identities. Just that they drop the national modifiers, align their brands with public perceptions and truly embrace the purpose for which they exist: to prevent and alleviate suffering everywhere. The Red Crescent (in 33 Islamic States) and the Red Crystal (in Israel) groups should be parallel brands in their respective territories, again without national modifiers.

And it appears that at some point, someone had the same idea. Notice that the URLs for the affiliates are not americanredcross.org, but simply redcross.org; not cruzrojaespanola.com but cruzroja.es.

You can read more about the design work, done by Turner Duckworthhere.

 

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