If you were to ask most people what the most prominent brand has been during this crisis, it has to be the NHS. Always a much-loved national institution, the brand has risen to the challenge of COVID-19 and secured a special place in the hearts of the nation.
That familiar logo, in Frutiger Bold Italic, on Pantone Blue 300, introduced in 1999, has become the icon of our times, emblematic of the thousands of front-line keyworkers who have put their lives before our own to safeguard the health of everyone.
Seen in nearly every window on every street, alongside a rainbow of hope, it has become a symbol of support for people showing their solidarity with NHS workers.
At 72 years old, the NHS brand has become synonymous with medical care across the globe, a publicly funded system that, since 1948, has shown that such a model can provide free healthcare to everyone.
The branding of the NHS, even before the pandemic, has been a huge success in terms of its recall, with research suggesting a 98% recognition rate. Even before this crisis, two-thirds of poll respondents said they consider it to be Britain’s single greatest achievement.
The national pride in the NHS has never been greater than it is right now. It evokes exceptionally high levels of trust and reassurance in a time of crisis, and the human stories behind the brand have captured everyone’s imagination.
Brand advocacy is always an important factor in these things. In the case of the NHS, everyone who works in it, who encounters it, who has been protected and even saved by it, becomes a passionate ambassador, creating a living, breathing brand entity.
And during lockdown, our national motivating driver has been to do our bit to, in turn, protect the NHS in its own hour of greatest need.
The surgeons, porters, nurses, catering staff, paramedics, midwives, pharmacists and GPs, and all of those in between, are the beating heart of the NHS brand. Right now, our nation swells with pride that we have something so wonderful looking after us.
Happy birthday NHS!