Science in Society

Talking about the HSRC: Are we diluting our brand?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
  • The HSRC wants its research to have impact. Our research outputs and expert opinions should inform policy that will ultimately improve the lives of South Africans. To conduct research, we need funding, respect and trust.
  • But first, funders, policy makers, academics, the media and the general public need to know who we are and what we do when they hear the words “the HSRC”.
  • This is why a research organisation needs to pay attention to the way it is “branded”, almost like a commercial company. Each organisation has branding guidelines. These may include the colours used on banners, icons, required co-branding and the words we use to refer to us.
  • We should take care not to dilute the HSRC brand in our science communication.

For example:

  • When researchers communicate their work to an external audience ― in articles, presentations, media interviews, etc. ― they should use “The HSRC”, preferably not the names of centres, divisions, working groups or projects to avoid diluting the HSRC brand. The name of the centre or project can be mentioned once or twice but, ideally, the sentences describing research priorities, our mandate, etc. should look like this:
  • The Department of Science and Innovation commissioned the HSRC to …
  • HSRC researchers visited the community …
  • The HSRC strives to …
  • Certain colours are associated with brands. Printing bright pink t-shirts or ordering yellow-branded water bottles may not support the HSRC brand if our main colours are blues and whites.
  • It is mandatory that the DSI is co-branded on items that have a more external focus. These include:
  • Newsletters, Annual Report and Magazines
  • Brochures
  • Posters
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Social media posts
  • Backdrop, pull-up banners and teardrop banners
  • Folders
  • Combined pylon
  • Outdoor signage

Excluded: letterheads, internal documents and business cards

Download a copy of the HSRC Corporate Identity Manual (branding guidelines):

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What do I want to share?
  3. What should my word count be?
  4. How do I structure an article?
  5. How can I use stories in my communication?
  6. I need help with language and style
  7. What about footnotes/bibliographies/references?
  8. Tick box
  9. Talking about the HSRC: Are we diluting our brand?
  10. Focus on the researcher: Conveying the So What? and writing a short biography
  11. How do I structure a PowerPoint presentation?
  12. How do I take a useful photograph?
  13. How do I plan the structure of a short video?
  14. Useful links on science communication
  15. I am no digital native and need help with these: ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​creating hyperlinks, tracking edits in Word, making edits in Pdf, sending large documents and folders via WeTransfer
  16. Visualise your communication for impact
  17. HSRC events: Requirements for drafting and sending invitations

This toolkit is designed to help HSRC researchers to communicate information about their research effectively to maximise impact.​​​​​​​