Brand by Amnesty

Find out how we helped the biggest grassroots human rights movement, Amnesty International UK, recognise and address how racism and inequity show up in its brand.


It's easy (and lazy!) to assume a human rights organisation would be miles ahead in its anti-racism journey. Yet, after uncovering inequitable practices, Amnesty took a necessary step. It called out its own issues with inequity and racism and committed to doing better. (Something we need to see more of!) Amnesty International UK (AIUK) came to us for our anti-oppressive brand strategy expertise. Our mission was to create anti-racist, equitable and inclusive brand principles. We helped the communications team understand how their work creates a more equitable brand that’s true to its values.
Who Led The Project
Collette Philip
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While the comms team had a real passion and willingness to become an equitable brand, they needed help understanding what this meant for their work. We looked at AIUK's past comms work and at their brand channels and held listening sessions with staff from the Global Majority and other minoritised communities, as well as activists in Amnesty International UK’s wider community. This showed us how racism and inequity show up across the brand, and the impact that has on different audiences. The audit gave us tangible examples of how racism and inequity showed up in Amnesty’s communications. This was really helpful to the organisation, as it helped everyone understand the current reality and challenges, as well as spot opportunities to move towards anti-racism and anti-oppression, in a practical and actionable way.
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Part of really embracing anti-oppression is to identify how white supremacy – or 'the status quo' - shows up, and then work to disrupt it. During our audit phase, the AIUK team identified some characteristics upholding inequity. To build on this, we led workshops to co-create ideas for proactively embedding anti-racism and equity throughout the brand. Across a series of workshops, our lead strategists worked to shape ideas for an equitable communications toolkit. Our lively and friendly approach made sure that although the sessions were challenging at times, everyone felt supported and comfortable sharing ideas. This resulted in staff taking greater ownership and thinking more equitably. 
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Amnesty International's brand is arguably the organisation's strongest asset. When even one of the world's biggest social justice brands recognises it has upheld systems of oppression, it's crucial the organisation backs new approaches to drive genuine change. To keep everyone focused on this goal and move into action, we created a set of principles for anti-racist, inclusive and accessible communications to underpin all brand output. For seemingly complex topics, we like to keep our toolkits simple and easy to work with. We developed the Principles for Inclusive, Equitable and Anti-Racist Communications to sit alongside and within Amnesty's core brand guidelines.
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When we do this work, people often want a definitive list of the "do's and don'ts" to work to, and Amnesty were no different. But let's be honest, if tackling inequity was that simple, the world would be different. And besides, wanting a list to follow demonstrates the binary thinking that we have to move away from to create change! We guided the leaders to understand that real equity requires more than binary choices. Together, we shifted their perspective, showing that deep understanding and action from an anti-oppression mindset is what makes the real difference.
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After we finish a project, we always catch up three months later. This is to see how things are going, talk about any feedback, and see if there’s more we can do to help. When Amnesty reviewed their progress, they understood they had to keep pushing forward. What began as a project to improve equity across their communications became something bigger. They saw that these changes needed to be part of everything they do, like taking an equitable approach to choosing the right partners.
OUR insight
‘The time spent making these comms principles as accessible and user friendly as possible made our team more mindful of how accessibly we communicate in our own work.’
Collette Philip
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“Working with Brand by Me was really collaborative. They make sure everyone understands where we are, what the problems are and how we're going to overcome them. By the time we came to the end of the project, people were already starting to use some of the new terminology because they'd been involved with the creation of it.”

Christina Cadore, Head of Communications, AIUK

Recognising and addressing how your brand upholds systems of oppression helps drive social justice. We can show you how.

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