The new-style event tackling humanitarian crises

Brandfuel's new-style event, 'Humanitarian Xchange', gathered world leaders together to discuss humanitarian crises and how everyone can help.

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For pitches - Brandfuel’s creative equivalent of a HIIT class - we always give it our all, and then some. So imagine creating a live website, graphic identity, event name, and even a film to position an event for a new summit... only to be hit with a no. 

Well, that’s what happened at the beginning of our journey with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy. 

Invested, devastated but determined, we made it our mission to find out why we had lost. This was the kind of event - a purpose-driven, rewarding project - that Fuellers love to engage with. 

Our client, HLA, was also disappointed: “We are gutted. You were our dream agency. Everyone loved your pitch, we simply can’t afford to work with you; your level of delivery and budget were much higher than we can afford.” 

We listened and agreed on a set of acceptable deliverables and standards to meet the budget and Brandfuel were happily appointed. 

The HLA wanted its one-day summit to be a catalyst to inspire, recruit and train one million new humanitarians. They wanted an event platform that enabled the whole sector and “voices from the edge” to scope out what the future of humanitarianism should look like. 

We began by hosting a strategy workshop with HLA and their strategic partners, all experts in the humanitarian sector. This established key aims and points of difference from other events in this sector. We needed to ensure that the conversations were solution-orientated, focusing on a bottom-up approach. 

We refined the graphic identity, pushing a brighter, flexible colour palette - we were keen to retain a message of “hope”, not despair. The name, “Humanitarian Xchange”, was inspired by the event's ethos, to bring the sector together to exchange views and collaborate. 

We built a website to promote the event, which became the online hub for hosting all the on-demand sessions, while the mobile event app guided both online and in-person attendees. In total, we co-ordinated 39 sessions with 120 speakers, online and in-person. The event, held at the Business Design Centre in London, on February 20, 2024, attracted financiers, technology experts, field officers, educators, journalists and other stakeholders, as well as global humanitarian leaders, politicians and policy-makers. 

Our Founder's dedication to making the event a success surpassed expectations. He joined the HLA team working to establish new partnerships. He flew to New York for Leaders on Purpose during the UNGA, to interview the CEO of Save the Children US about the Humanitarian Xchange in front of potential private-sector partners. This opened doors to new private-sector companies that Save The Children had been trying to crack for several years.

Dominic Courage (Deputy Director of the HLA) also joined us to the World Economic Forum in January where he formed six new business relationships and cemented many others, including onboarding Nicole Stott (a US astronaut) as a future ambassador for the event. 

After eight months of Brandfuel living and breathing this project, the first Humanitarian Xchange was attended by 485 people in-person, while 5,488 humanitarians registered for the online event from across the world. More than 1,500 - and counting have been engaging with the on-demand content.