Experience Panels: branding of Social Security Scotland

Findings from research into Social Security Scotland’s name and logo, and branding and wording guidance.

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Focus group participants were presented with a number of potential straplines for the new agency: ‘Built around you’, ‘Dignity Fairness Respect’, ‘Enabling, Supporting, Advising’ and ‘Your social security agency’.

‘Enabling, Supporting, Advising’

Many participants were positive about this strapline. Amongst those who were positive, they liked the language was ‘supportive’ however they questioned how realistic a description this could be for the new agency.

Those who were positive about this strapline felt that it sent a good message and suggested an element of choice. The word ‘advising’ was seen as good because it’s not ‘telling’ or ‘forcing’ – it felt less prescriptive. Some felt that it implied even when the answer was ‘no’ the agency will be constructive and when turning people away suggest where they go next.

Some participants suggested changing the order of the words, for example placing ‘supporting’ first to give a sense of priorities. This also meant the strapline would not have the acronym ‘ESA[6] which for some had negative connotations.

Participants who were less positive suggested it sounded ‘like a charity’ and were not sure it covered everything the agency should do. Others believed that the purpose of the agency was missing.

‘Built around you’

Participants who were positive about this strapline suggested it might indicate a person-centred approach and they found that reassuring. A number of participants felt the strapline was unclear and seemed incomplete, not telling the reader anything about the agency. Others felt it was a false promise. Some suggested that the word ‘built’ had the connotations of a housing association or building company.

‘Dignity Fairness Respect’

Many participants felt positively about this strapline, and felt it set a good, clear tone for the new agency. They believed it would guide expectations of the behavior of both the staff and clients.

“It demonstrates that care and attention has been put in to getting it right”

Many felt the word ‘dignity’ was important and marked a change from the previous system. Participants felt that the strapline was ‘powerful’, ‘political’, ‘strong’, ‘bold’ and a ‘service level agreement that they could trust’.

“This is an accurate representation of what is being built. Dignity is the key, as there is nothing dignified about the current process in place at DWP”

‘Your Social Security Agency’

Responses to this strapline were mixed. Some participants were strongly against it, feeling that it was not a new or different message.

They felt the agency didn’t feel as personal as this implied. Those who preferred ‘social security’ in the ‘agency’s’ name felt it was too repetitive.

Participants who liked this strapline felt it made the brand feel ‘personal’ and liked the word ‘your’. They felt it broke away from the past and gave them a stake in the agency.


Email: James Miller

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