• Transform magazine
  • August 07, 2020

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BSA’s rebrand gives stammerers a voice

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Stammering - or stuttering - is a relatively common speech problem characterised by unintentional repetitions and extensions of sounds, syllables, and silent pauses. It currently concerns about 700.000 people in the UK, and is a great source of suffering, on account of the global ignorance on this matter. Indeed, 99% of stammerers feel ashamed of the way they speak, according to the British Stammering Association (BSA), the UK largest charity for stammering.

The association says stammerers are often confronted with people who think they stutter because they are nervous, unsure, disabled, lying or drunk. 

To fight ignorance and spread awareness, the BSA wanted to improve the way they communicate with the man in the street. In response, independent agency Zag has done a solid job rebranding BSA, now trading as Stamma. Since 1978, the BSA gives advice, information and support to people who stammer, but the 2019’s campaign has a bolder goal: rectifying common misconceptions around stammering and encouraging people to take this issue seriously.

Alice Penner, Zag’s designer for this project, says that the campaign was based on conversations they’ve had with their members, and that it's thanks to their willingness to share personal and very real experiences that they’ve managed to create such authentic communication. «It was hard to read through the surveys completed by young people who renounced to their dream careers and feel thwarted in education, work and love», says Stamma CEO Jane Powell.

The campaign is powerful and striking, with posters using the phrase ’I stammer’ with spaces between the letters, to imitate the pauses in conversation or extensions of sounds that are familiar to stammerers. Inside those spaces there’s another message written by a stammerer such as ‘don’t hang up on me,’ ‘I’m not nervous it’s how I talk’, or ‘give me a little more time.’ This campaign is informative, since many people ignore the problems that stammerers face, and emotional, as the phrases and testimonials makes the campaign ring true and personal. Alongside this bold campaign, the BSA has generated discussion on social media using the hashtag #Stamma.

This example of rebranding shows how communication can change the game for companies and charities, when a strong message combines with a bold and creative approach.

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