BRIT Trust Diaries: Nadra Shah, Nordoff & Robbins' director of engagement and communications

BRIT Trust Diaries: Nadra Shah, Nordoff & Robbins' director of engagement and communications

Date published: 29/03/2023

The BRIT Trust is the principal charity of the UK record industry, and is committed to improving lives through the power of music and the creative arts. Funded largely by The BRIT Awards and the Music Industry Trusts Award (MITS), the work of the BRIT Trust is enabled by a Board of Trustees chaired by Tony Wadsworth CBE.  
Since its foundation by record labels and the BPI in 1989, the Trust has donated around £28 million to a range of causes that promote education and wellbeing, including The BRIT School, Nordoff and Robbins, Mind, Music Support, ELAM, and Key4Life among many others.  To learn more about its work visit here. 
To help explain and promote the work of The BRIT Trust and the charities it supports, the Trust publishes a regular series of BRIT Trust Diaries in association with Music Week.  
In the latest edition of the BRIT Trust Diaries, Nadra Shah, Nordoff and Robbins’ Director of Engagement and Communications, discusses why the UK’s largest music therapy charity has overhauled its identity in order to reposition itself as a champion of the social value of music, and to further raise awareness of music therapy in society more generally.

Nadra Shah, Nordoff and Robbins’ Director of Engagement and Communications

Making the decision to go through a brand reposition is never taken lightly, especially for a charity. It can be a long process involving lots of people both internally and outside the organisation, not to mention the cost.  But when the case presented is clear, you have to act.
The starting point is to always look at the evidence, and research told us that the vital need for music therapy across the UK is currently the highest it’s ever been, but sadly the truth was that public understanding of the benefits and even awareness of music therapy remains low. To protect and increase both our services and future funding, we had to change the way in which we communicate our work and its impact, particularly among the next generation of givers and cause-driven music lovers who appreciate the power of music.

This initial research work sent us down a long, tough, yet incredibly rewarding path of creativity and teamwork that has allowed us to arrive at where we are today.

Working with the brilliant minds at world-renowned design agency Pentagram and digital agency Hex, we led with our mission, clients and accessibility at the core of this work. We re-defined our purpose, amplifying music throughout our brand, adding flexibility, colour and vibrancy every step of the way to better represent the amazing people our music therapists work with daily. 

To rename or not to rename, that was the question. When you asked some people, the surnames of our founders felt odd and not associated with what we do. But Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins were the driving force behind a unique practice that has stood the test of time. So that magic and now inserted into our brand name brings these two pioneers to life. Nordoff and Robbins are in our DNA, they are our heritage.

The new logo is a result of aiming to convey the unique connection between music therapist and client – an experience that explores sound in unusual ways that go beyond the classic conventions of music.

Our new identity is respectful of the charity’s rich heritage and expertise, while ensuring that we remain relevant in an increasingly busy world, where competition for attention is high.

We now have a cohesive brand that will help us to clearly express our ambition and, crucially, hold the public’s attention. The new identity effectively communicates the power and connection that Nordoff and Robbins stands for, and puts people and music at the heart of what we do.

Although we are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved so far, we see this as just the beginning. Support from our many friends across the music industry, not least The BRIT Trust, is vital to our ongoing mission to continue helping people to break through with music, and as such we need your help now more than ever.

Through decades of invaluable support from across the industry (giving you all a shout out would take me way beyond my word count!), to recently announced partnerships with ASM Global, SWG3 and events such as Music Mudder with Wasserman Music and the O2 Silver Clef Awards, we are beyond grateful in what you’ve helped us to achieve so far.

Now, with an ever-increasing demand for our services across the UK and a focus on the huge wealth of musical talent in the North coming later this year, we want to engage the next generation of exceptional music industry executives with our cause, so we can continue making music therapy accessible to even more people across society.

We’re in it for the long haul, and we hope you are too.

For more information on Nordoff and Robbins, please visit here.