UK Volume 21 Superbrands UK Annual Vol.21 With donations from the public , the British Heart Foundation (BHF) invests in ground-breaking research that strives to get closer than ever to a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases Market There are 168,000 charities registered in the UK. In 2019, charities that fund medical research invested £1.9bn in UK research (Source: Association Medical Research Charities). This may sound like a lot of money, but robust medical research is a long, expensive process. On average, it takes 12-15 years and £1.15bn to produce a new drug (Source: Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry). Even before the Covid-19 pandemic decimated charities’ incomes, the proportion of people giving money either by donating or via sponsorship had been declining steadily (Source: Charity Aid Foundation). This is partly due to the tough economic climate and the new GDPR legislation which significantly impacted charities’ ability to connect with people. In 2018/19 fundraising income at the top 100 charities fell by £92m. Despite a challenging market, over the last four years the BHF has grown its fundraising income by 12% and its brand has gone from strength to strength. Product Since the BHF was founded in 1961, it has funded transformative research which has contributed to reducing UK deaths from heart and circulatory diseases by half. The BHF also offers support for the millions of people living with these conditions to live better, healthier lives. Every six hours, a BHF-funded research paper is published. The BHF funds more than half of non-commercial research into heart and circulatory diseases in the UK. It currently funds around 900 projects, at 47 universities and institutions across the country investigating heart and circulatory diseases and the risk factors that cause them. Achievements To help change the way people think and feel about the BHF, the team embarked on a strategic brand review. A new proposition to Beat Heartbreak Forever saw them completely overhaul the brand with a new marcomms strategy and a fresh, contemporary brand identity. The 2018 launch campaign had a crystal-clear message that while BHF research starts with your heart, it doesn’t stop there. Its efforts have seen BHF’s brand metrics reach their highest recorded levels. In 2019, YouGov’s Brandlndex ranked the BHF as the third most improved charity brand of 2019 and in April 2020 the BHF’s brand campaign ‘starts with your heart’ won the Charity Film of the Year Award in the £100 Million Plus Turnover category. Recent Developments While it is primarily a medical research charity, the BHF also offers patient services such as a nurse helpline. At the height of the UK’s lockdown, its helpline saw a tenfold increase in calls, and its website’s Covid-19 information and support pages were viewed millions of times. The BHF’s initial reaction to the pandemic was to ensure its services reached as many people as possible. It ramped up its nurse helpline – extending its hours and bringing in more nurses from across the organisation – and transformed its customer service centre into a triage system so it could manage the volume of calls. The BHF also launched its ‘Coronavirus on their minds’ campaign in May 2020 to let the public know that the BHF was there for them. Looking forward, the BHF’s new marketing campaigns will focus on the impact of Covid-19 on its research to save and improve lives, and the urgent need for regular donations to support its longer-term research ambitions. There are 7.4 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases – that’s around twice the number of people living with cancer and Alzheimer’s disease combined DID YOU KNOW?