Skip to main content

Case Study

Helping Stonepillow to feel at home with communications

Looking for clarity

Stonepillow is a much-loved and established charity, based in Chichester, with a mission to prevent homelessness. In recent years, they had reset their internal strategy and services around a Five Pillar Pathway that takes a holistic approach to empowering vulnerable and homeless people to recover and restore their lives.  But, the charity’s communications, website and brand look, feel, and tone had not kept pace with Stonepillow’s progressive strategy. 

The Fundraising and Communications team was keen to bring things up to speed. Demand for Stonepillow’s services was going up, making it increasingly essential to attract fundraising and donations. They knew they needed a better way to convey the story and to elevate the brand and website experience. But, they also knew this project required clarity and expert support to get it implemented. Stonepillow requested tenders, ran a pitch and Flintlock Marketing was appointed to help.

“Stonepillow chose Flintlock to partner on our brand refresh and new website delivery due to the diverse skillsets they can offer and their drive to really get under the skin of our organisation.”

Debbie Jupe - Head of Fundraising, Communications and Partnerships

Finding the right words

Our initial audit revealed three insights about the brand and communications style:

  1.  Too cold – the brand palette of black and white and purple felt unwelcoming
  2.  Too dry – the industry-orientated, long-form copy felt impenetrable
  3. Too difficult – the website was hard to navigate and discover how to make donations

It was clear we needed to re-express the story so that it aligned to the internal strategy, highlighting its benefits, and bringing out the human stories at its heart. It was also important to shift the role of the website from trying to be all things to all people – industry, partners, clients – and instead to focus on connecting to the audiences it most needed for support with fundraising and donations.

During our discovery phase, we found much to inspire. Our Spark Workshop with Stonepillow’s leadership team revealed a group of people with passion, belief and deep knowledge. We heard the stories of the people they’d supported and those who volunteered. We learnt of the partners they worked with, their progress, and their lobbying to prevent homelessness. We also visited their hubs, hostels, recovery and rehab centres to hear from the clients themselves. Here, we found people with enormous hope and positivity, people with lived experience who were now giving back. We heard many ideas and wishes that we could convert into compelling ‘calls to action’ to encourage people to give.

We also looked at the ‘competitor’ landscape. We discovered that 20+ local and national charities were active in the area, with shops, causes and appeals. And, although Stonepillow had good brand equity and supporter loyalty, it highlighted that a clear communications strategy and a more dynamic brand was essential to help them stand out in a busy crowd.

“Flintlock provided insights into our organisation and what we needed that we couldn’t have unpicked ourselves. They took the time to understand, and their recommendations showed how well they’d ‘got’ us and our service users”

David Coulthard - Chair of Trustees, Stonepillow

A transformative approach

The Flintlock team spent time collating and bringing all these elements together into a communications strategy and messaging house. 

The first action was to evolve the strapline from its industry-focused Five Pathway headings into: Preventing Homelessness, Restoring Lives.

This clearly distilled Stonepillow’s reason for being to an external audience while remaining true to the charity’s vision and mission. Then, building from this, we established three key messaging pillars:

  • A place of comfort without judgement
  • The time needed to transform
  • Making the most of life’s opportunities

The pillars encapsulated the client journey and how Stonepillow empowers them to restore their lives. Within each pillar, we identified three differentiated ‘reasons to believe’ to support why they could say that. This gave the team a clear framework to enable them to deliver consistent communications, reinforce the brand and make it memorable for all audiences.

With the messaging house agreed, we then stepped into development of the website. Using the strategy, we built out a simplified website wireframe with the end-user in mind. Focusing on donations, we punctuated the site with ‘calls to action’ and took a ‘less is more’ approach to copywriting. Our goals were simplicity, immediacy and connection.

“They’ve been able to understand our personality, and what makes us unique, translating this into refreshed branding that really pops out, with clear and compelling communication and a website that will meet our fundraising and comms needs as we progress forward into challenging times for the sector.”

Head of Fundraising - Communications and Partnerships

We warmed up the brand’s colour palette to give it a fresher, more positive feel. We made it user-friendly, so that visitors could quickly understand how to give time, money and stuff. 

We explicitly drew the link between their giving and the point of transformation for the client. And critically, we highlighted quotes, gathered in our conversations at the discovery phase, to put the genuine stories of transformation at heart and to create an authentic experience. 

Images of the team, clients and fundraising activities were used to reflect these real moments.  Overall, the new website was designed to create an engaging, holistic story that would compel audiences. Consistent, crystal-clear ‘calls to action’ were placed on every page to inspire donations and encourage fundraising activities.

Lastly, we spent time with the Fundraising and Communications team to facilitate a Get Sparked workshop to support them to translate the strategy into communications action. We spent time working through how to create and design campaigns, copywriting tips, and embedding the brand into internal communications.

“Flintlock have delivered with talent, integrity, professionalism and patience whilst working with and upskilling a new in-house team. Huge thanks to Tash and the team!”

Head of Fundraising - Communications and Partnerships

Clarity on what Stonepillow stands for and how to stand out

Stonepillow’s website was launched in December 2023. Feedback from the wider team, Trustees, clients, partners and supporters has been positive. Flintlock advised on a winter campaign which will follow, alongside a reworked fundraising film and a spoken-word poem by a partner charity, narrated by the Stonepillow team. All in all, the brand and communications now authentically reflect the whole, compelling story with warmth, hope and positivity.

Stonepillow origional logo Stonepillow new logo
Stonepillow Home Page 1 Stonepillow Updated Home Page

Fully Comprehensive with Co-Op Insurance

Let’s create a spark together