IWM (Imperial War Museums)

5 sites, 1 vision

Where did we start?

Imperial War Museums wanted to clarify their position in the museum sector and to create an internationally recognised brand for a national family of museums. As well as the London museum, the organisation also operates Imperial War Museum North, a former RAF base at Duxford, the Churchill War Rooms and HMS Belfast – 5 very different and individual sites. The aim of this project was to ensure an improved understanding of the museum, its relevance and role, its diverse range of activities and multiple sites, by creating a brand that was meaningful and useful to each organisation but also expressed the commonality between them.

What did we do?

We began by conducting an in-depth analysis of the Imperial War Museums’ market positioning, values and messaging. We then worked with museum staff to develop a brand based in the idea ‘the force of war’ which aims to capture the shocking impact of war on the lives of everyone it touches - the force of war to destroy, but also to unite and shape history. We simplified the confusing brand architecture and naming structure by recommending they adopt the prefix IWM for each site and worked with Hat-trick Design to reflect the brand strategy in a new visual identity. We also worked developed a set of key messages which would ensure their communications would have more impact and visibility.

What's the impact?

The brand is helping shape the direction and activities of the museum from marketing and communications to retail and the current planning of the First World War exhibitions in 2014. There is more clarity about the relationship between the different parts of IWM and consistency of their messages.

“The new brand is part of ongoing work to ensure we remain relevant to all our audiences in the 21st century. IWM was established in 1917 to collect and record everybody’s experiences of the Great War, which was still being fought. In many ways our new brand takes us back to this original purpose by focusing on our collections, which are made up of the everyday and the exceptional, drawn from people of all walks of life.”

Penny Hamilton, Director of Marketing, IWM