New Strapline for The National Trust

By Mash Bonigala

Straplines are somewhat of a controversial topic with the business community. Many marketing professionals feel that they represent an invaluable opportunity to communicate with your audience, but business people in the UK tend to view them as somewhat dispensable. However, one British organisation believes heavily in straplines, enough to put significant time and resources into creating a new and more relevant one that will inspire the new generation.

The National Trust has for years used the familiar strapline, “For ever, for everyone.” This phrase was meant to represent the fact that this organisation cares for numerous historical houses and gardens so that they may be enjoyed and visited by everyone for the indefinite future. However, there were several drawbacks to this strapline. First, it emphasized the historical nature of these properties, something that seems irrelevant to many young people. History is simply not compelling enough to inspire young families to visit The National Trust properties for the first time nor to become members.

A second and notable problem with the old strapline is that the reference to ‘everyone’ was not congruent with the public perception of the brand. With most members of The National Trust significantly older and wealthier than most of the population, this was simply not an accurate statement. Many people surely noted the incongruence, even if not on a conscious level.

The new strapline for the organisation is “Time well spent.” This strapline is shorter and more succinct, which is nearly always a benefit for any company. The references to history are gone, instead replaced with a phrase recommending these properties as places to spend a lazy afternoon. This is more likely to resonate with a younger UK audience. More people care about having a worthy place to spend time, especially in today’s busy culture, than about preserving history for the future. The aim of the organisation remains the same, but the way this mission is presented to the public has been shifted.

This strapline change is only part of an overall branding change for the organisation. For the last six months, events have been held at sites managed by The National Trust, including outdoor theatre presentations and holiday celebrations. The organisation has partnered with numerous other brands, such as Cadbury, to defray much of the cost of these additional activities. This also makes the brand seem more modern and relevant by aligning it with brands that have this perception already.

With more and more UK families choosing to spend their holiday at home, there has never been a better time for The National Trust to make this relevant shift in position. Offering a place to visit that is interesting, education, and ‘time well spent’ is sure to increase the number of visitors to key sites as well as the number of people interested in becoming members of this organisation.

Does your business have a strapline? Like logo design, this brand aspect allows people all over London and the UK to understand and to identify with your business. This makes it absolutely indispensable in an ever more competitive market.