Why Colin Wheeler chose to work with UK Youth

Colin Wheeler helping UK Youth

Colin Wheeler is Managing Partner at the strategy and marketing communications company CWMarketing Limited. We caught up with Colin to get his insights and perspective on marketing for good and about his experience of working with UK Youth.

What inspired you to participate in Marketing for Good?
I got talking to Gemma and found out about what the Marketing Society and Pimp My Cause was up to – the concept and its frame work. I thought that it was time that I took the opportunity to give something back, and it had been a while since I was actively involved in a recognised charitable organisation. I was introduced to Anna at Pimp My Cause and we chatted through the various opportunities and options.

Why did you choose to work with UK Youth?
I am firm believer in the saying that charity begins at home... and what with nearly 800,000 16-24 year olds being unemployed within the UK, and the uncertainty facing many of our young people as they go through their teens into their early twenties as they seek to set a pathway for their future, and all the uncertainty that goes with that  – I quickly recognised and identified UK Youth is the organisation that is seriously attempting to put programmes and practices in place to help and support them, whatever their circumstances. I simply felt that emotionally this was the charitable organisation that I wanted to get involved with – our youth is our future - and this was certainly confirmed once I had spoken with Jo Birch-Phaure, UK Youth Head of Communications. Jo’s enthusiasm and drive was something with which I could resonate.
What challenge were they facing?
Although UK Youth is a leading national charitable organisation and has been for over 100 years, it continues to find itself in a very competitive environment with not the perceived high awareness that other, competitive charities involved with young people have. It cannot compete on a budget level with some of the higher profile competing organisations, who continue to consistently outspend UK Youth. People are possibly unclear exactly what UK Youth stand for, what they can do, and what their programmes can deliver. Positioning and identity is a clear factor, and an issue for the organisation to review and address.   
How were you able to help them address that challenge?

The timing of my involvement was fortunate as I was able to contribute and help steer major discussion, workshop delivery and conclusions within a project remit relating to new brand identity and brand positioning working with the Head of Communications and her colleagues. This very much needed to align to the overall business plan and objectives for the organisation. Jo is refreshing various aspects of the brand including the website with the anticipation of relaunching the brand in 2015.

How have you benefited from the experience?
It’s been a while since I was last involved with a charity business. I had forgotten how challenging market conditions are - and how difficult it is to uniquely stand out in today’s environment. Working with Jo and the team at UK Youth has been really enjoyable, and knowing that all my efforts were somehow building towards, if only in a small way, to help the youth of today get a better start, be in a better place – and importantly know where to go for support – this is all very emotionally rewarding. Also, it confirmed once again – regardless of the business that you are in – you need to continue to build your brand and clearly communicate the virtues and benefits of the brand.
What would you say to other marketers considering getting involved?
It’s refreshing. It will take you outside your existing environment. You meet new, interesting people. Never underestimate what you can give, through your experiences from other brands and businesses – and your efforts are very much appreciated. Just find the time.

If you would like to find out more and see how you get involved, please get in touch with Sarah Woodley. And you can browse more marketing for good content in our Clubhouse.