Building Blocks of Strong Nonprofit Brands

A while ago I wrote Branding; when a refresh is in order and had some interesting feedback, with many saying it’s important to look at a refresh of an organisation’s brand from time to time, but that often people are afraid to refresh as it can be seen as a waste of time, money and other resources.

I came across The Eight Building Blocks of Strong Nonprofit Brands on Nonprofit Quarterly and thought it was a great piece and wanted to share it.

“To some, the very idea of nonprofit branding is a vulgar topic. No doubt, the nonprofit sector should be about mission, about performance, about excellence. We all want nonprofits to get the support they deserve, and we may sincerely wish that effectiveness were the coin of the realm—but it rarely is. Not only are measures of performance imprecise in many fields, the metrics we do have are incommensurable across fields. For all the talk of social investing and venture philanthropy, the reality is that brands still dominate the capital markets in the nonprofit sector. Decisions about support are a function of what the public thinks a nonprofit is doing far more than what it actually knows about what the organization is accomplishing.

“So, what is a brand? It is the construct that stakeholders hold about the identity, including the character, of a nonprofit organization. It is the sum total of perceptions about what a nonprofit stands for, what it does, and how much social impact it is thought to achieve. Brands are connected to reputations, in that recognizable brands are often, though not always, associated with good reputations. Brands can be tarnished and reputations ruined after scandals or bad press—and in that case, the brand may endure in the awareness of stakeholders but it will no longer be able to contribute to the organization’s ability to pursue its goals. Should one be fortunate enough to have a great brand, protecting it becomes an absolute organizational priority. Arguably, it is the most valuable asset in the nonprofit sector, because it is the gateway to all other assets, both human and financial.

Read the full article here

Branding; when a refresh is in order

Branding; when a refresh is in order

Was talking with a couple of people recently about how they were thinking that maybe they needed to have a brand rethink for the organisation.

This discussion probably takes place more than we realise, one issue when discussing a rebrand, is the thought that it will hit the coffers hard.

During the course of the discussion I recalled an article I had read from Max du Bois “When’s the right time to rebrand or refresh?” and thought it a relevant article to share with you.

In Branding Inside Out Max du Bois suggested you’ll know when it’s time to refresh your charity’s brand “when you’re achieving your goals in spite of your brand and not because of it. Or when you’re spending time, effort and money overcoming its shortcomings rather than reaping the benefits of your brand’s strengths.”

Early signs of trouble for your brand can include hearing the same communication issues over and over again, struggling to explain with clarity how a partnership could best work, or trying to make sense of a proliferation of sub-brands and visual identity interpretations.

Be wary of introducing the word ‘rebrand’ too early as disaster could strike. Trustees will see pound coins flying out the door and start digging in their heels citing branding disasters, and staff might start thinking they’re working for a broken organisation.

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