Olivia Reid – RSPCA assistant director for marketing and communications

Marketer of the Week

The Marketer Leading RSPCA's 200th Anniversary: Olivia Reid

Working alongside AMV BBDO, the charity has released an anniversary campaign that aims to showcase hope in animal welfare

By Stephen Lepitak

Britain’s foremost animal welfare charity, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, and Olivia Reid is the marketer leading the brand's largest transformation in half a century to mark the occasion.

As its assistant director for marketing and communications, over the last two years, Reid has been building a strategy that aims to generate a radical rethink of people’s relationships with animals. And as the cost of pet ownership has risen due to the cost of living crisis of recent years, so too has pet abandonment, meaning that donations are as vital as ever for the operation to carry out its work.

“The role of the brand is to help us elevate everything that we're doing and to connect with more people. So, we're doing that in a much more welcoming, bolder and confident way to attract more people,” she explains.

While shouting about the work that the charity carries out, Reid is introducing campaigns that also showcase the hope that animals can have and bring to people as well.

“Throughout my career, I think I've understood that you must emotionally connect with your audiences. From an RSPCA point of view, we've been good at engaging with people from a fundraising point of view, showing their needs and when people respond urgently at that time. But that was only telling one part of the story about everything that the RSPCA does,” she adds.

Reid joined the RSPCA from another fundraising organisation, Prostate Cancer UK, where she spent over a decade developing her marketing skills. She initially started her career within a youth organisation where she handled research before moving to a government agency that promoted the update of vocational qualifications.

While at Prostate Cancer UK she was involved in altering the stigma of men talking about the illness while helping to fund preventative research to make breakthroughs in the fight against the condition and building the brand of the charity.

Awareness-raising initiatives included linking up with footballers and advertising across stadiums to start a conversation with men and to break the taboo.

“It helped me as an individual and a professional understand the power of how you could be single minded, and how you had to take the organisation on with you through that shared purpose, but really be single-minded and unashamedly bold.”

That work is what Reid has continued in her current role and is witnessed within the “For Every Kind” campaign, created alongside agency AMV BBDO as a rallying cry for people to show more kindness to animals.

Reid also praises the collaborative process of working on the campaign with her agency partners to create a better world for animals, describing it as “a learning experience” for everyone and revealing that the work had been tested internally within RSPCA before release.

“Rebranding and reinvigorating a 200-year-old charity at a point where animals are facing the biggest welfare crisis in modern times is not for the faint-hearted. But Olivia brought together and drove a talented multi-disciplinary team and united them behind an ambitious but hugely motivating vision of what was possible,” adds the agency’s managing partner, Alex Bird.

 “Her ability to bring different stakeholders with different priorities and points of view along with her on that journey is what led to such a successful and complete rebrand of the RSPCA – the biggest in its history,” says Bird.

Initially released in April, a second burst of activity will be released in June involving OOH and cinema with much more planned for later in the year including events, TV, social and radio.

Within the first two weeks of release, the campaign film had been viewed over 200,000 times on the RSPCA YouTube page alone.

Having spent so much time as a marketer within the third sector, Reid says that she would find it difficult to move into a commercial organisation that was purely motivated by profit over doing good for the world and added that she took a commercial point of view to engage with audiences when developing communications strategies.


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