Plunkett UK: New brand for rural community business network

‘It is our intention to use the refreshed brand as a way of reaffirming our commitment to partnership working across all four UK nations to empower community-owned businesses’

The Plunkett Foundation, the support network for the UK’s rural community business sector, has rebranded to support its “strategic ambition to grow the community ownership movement in all parts of the UK”.

The rebrand includes a new operational name, Plunkett UK, and refreshed look with “a suite of colours, an updated logo and a strapline which reaffirms our commitment to the sector we are so proud to be a part of”.

Brand agency Panda, one of Plunkett’s recommended membership suppliers, was a partner on the refresh.

“It is our intention to use the refreshed brand as a way of reaffirming our commitment to partnership working across all four UK nations to empower community-owned businesses to creative innovative, inclusive and impactful spaces which benefit local communities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,” says Plunkett.

It adds that its Plunkett 2022 – 2026 strategy “remains the central influence on our work, and our vision for resilient, thriving and inclusive rural communities across the UK remains unchanged”.

CEO James Alcock said: “Plunkett is such a special organisation with a well-respected brand going back well over 100 years. So many people and communities have such deep affection for Plunkett which means we approached the refresh with some trepidation.

“However, we felt the time was right – not just to establish a new colour palette – but to find a way of representing the organisation more accurately in terms of what we do, where and why. The consultation we undertook demonstrated that many people who had benefited directly from our support only knew us for that one thing and didn’t appreciate the history behind the organisation.

“Many people didn’t realise the deep rootedness of the organisation in the co-operative movement and the social economy. They perhaps weren’t aware of the depth of business support we provide and to the breadth of business models throughout the UK. We found too that many weren’t aware of the relationships we have with governments, funders and policymakers to represent members.”

He added: “I’m immensely proud of all this work that Plunkett does today. I hope the new modern take on our brand reflects this, and the ambition and confidence we have to tackle rural inequities and to bring about the changes that make up innovative, impactful and inclusive rural communities. I also hope our members feel this refreshed look reflects their contribution to the movement and that they are proud to belong to it.”

The new logo incorporates a leaf, in tribute to Dr Margaret Digby CBE, who was leading member of Plunkett’s team for 50 years.

“She was the driving force behind our organisation,” says Plunkett, “firstly as research assistant – working closely with founder Horace Plunkett, then as secretary for 33 years (with a break because of the Second World War), and then finally as a consultant.

“At times, Margaret single-handedly kept the Plunkett Foundation going. She then became an honorary trustee in 1977, eight years before she died, aged 82.

“It is fitting that we bring Margaret back into prominence as we launch a new look for the charity, because she was the first to introduce a tree for Plunkett’s logo, which then evolved into a leaf motif, and this has been refreshed again into an icon that is our unique and distinctive visual signature.

“We have intentionally re-connected to Margaret, and re-established her presence in the brand.”