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Three Learnings on Moving the World

There are so many important causes in the world – and positive social impact is what drives most of us at Wolff Olins. It’s why I joined. Many of those causes don’t get the attention they deserve. Animal protection is one of them.  

This is why we’ve spent the past two years collaborating with World Animal Protection (formerly called the World Society for the Protection of Animals), a global nonprofit organisation with a big ambition to end animal suffering. For over 50 years, they’ve been protecting the lives of millions of animals. Although they make  this level of impact they aren’t known on the street. In fact, research showed that only 7% of people surveyed across the world were aware they existed.

How can you motivate people to end animal suffering if people don’t know who you are? How can you move more people to protect animals?

This is what we set out to solve with our partners Collette Collins, Deputy Director of Communications and Pippa Rodger, Director of Communications leading the way. 

It’s been an amazing journey – that’s really just starting.  We thought we’d share a few of the things we’ve learned, and how you might move the world for your cause. 

1. Start with The Why

Animal protection is a hugely important global problem, so how can we get people to care?

Start with purpose – start with what matters to them. The purpose we helped World Animal Protection articulate was ‘We move the world to protect animals’, now the driving thought behind not just their communications but their culture too.  

There’s a great TED Talk by Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire everyone to take action by starting with The Why. In this talk, Sinek shares the Golden Circle, a simple yet powerful visual tool for sharing your story. It puts The Why at the center with The How and The What radiating outwards.

We used this tool to frame the story of World Animal Protection and uncover the purpose, looking at:

The Why: Why do we exist? Why does this matter?

The How: How is what we do different to what exists? What makes us special?

The What: What do we do that no else does?

2. Tools for action

The worst fear of any brand team is for your work to sit in unread strategy powerpoints and unused guideline pdfs. Almost everything we create begins with the question, “How can we make this even more useful?”

To that end, we helped them build a set of useful tools for making the story real in and outside of the organisation. Because we view workshops as a change methodology, we facilitated workshops with people across the organisation – from their global leadership team to fundraising, from human resources to communications.

Some of the work we’re most proud of includes helping the organisation shape their culture through  the  Four Moves – a tool that articulates the behaviours and actions needed from everyone inside the organisation to move the entire world to protect animals. Because we know that culture eats strategy for breakfast, our work is only as good as what people inside World Animal Protection believe in and the actions they take.

The most visible tools we’ve created are around the name and the visual expression. We first recommended changing the name to World Animal Protection. Names are incredibly powerful. I remember one of our principals – Sam Wilson – saying to another client, “Your name is just one of the many tools in your arsenal. Make sure it works hard for you.” Their former name – World Society of Protection of Animals, often shortened to WSPA – wasn’t too long and often a barrier to achieving their ambition of ending animal suffering.

There’s a lot of noise in the world. Not only do you need a simple and memorable name; you need a visual expression that cuts through. Working closely with the internal team, design director Dan Greene designed a simple visual expression to make it easy for their people to create new things – whether it’s for the website, the office walls or a high level disaster management conference installation .

While these two things might be the most visible, as Collette Collins said “Our brand is so much more than our new name and logo.  This is about embedding our purpose into everything we do, so no matter where we are in the world or what we’re doing, people will know who we are, what we stand for and be inspired to join us”

3. Real change takes time

In a world driven by the startup ideology of ‘lean and fast’, it’s important to remember that while it is important to test, try new things and act, that real change takes time – and is hard.

While our original project with World Animal Protection has ended, we’ve continued working with the organisation – from learning to acting as a sounding board to their management team as well as running design clinics.

Like most people when you’re trying to shift mindsets – inside and out, you need to be patient. You need to constantly equip people with tools to help them act.  You need to be prepared to evolve your story, to change as the world changes.

Melissa Andrada (@themelissard) heads up Kitchen from Wolff Olins, a school for ambitious leaders who want to build businesses that change the world. Melissa also is a lead strategist at Wolff Olins. World Animal Protection was her first project in the London office. She feels incredibly lucky to have collaborated with such an amazing team.

Thanks to Project Lead and Strategy Director, Richard Houston; Account Management Coach, Beatrice Vears; Design Director, Dan Greene; Designer, Rosie Isbell; and of course our friends at World Animal Protection – Collette Collins and Pippa Rodger.