Rebranding should be on all charities’ to do list

Charity rebrands are like proverbial buses. In the past six months we have seen the Samaritans, Stroke Association, Scope and now Cancer Research rip it up and start again.

Russell Parsons

To the last, each has talked enthusiastically about the need to rethink how their core values are reflected in their marketing communications.

The motivator, although not always explicitly stated, is flat fundraising levels. The economic downturn has proved even more challenging for the third sector, one of the biggest and most enthusiastic users of direct marketing. The public en masse have being taking a long hard look at the brands they spend their money on and prioritising spend on those where they see added value.

The message of the tireless and inspiring benevolence charities – one of the biggest and most enthusiastic users of DM – demonstrate, the difference they make to people’s lives, the halo affect on the communities they serve, was getting lost in economic malaise besetting the nation.

The answer? To demonstrate the same marketing savvy that any mobile or FMCG company would. It is ridiculous to say it, but such branding basics as clear and recognisable brand values and well planned marketing campaigns with defined objectives have either been forgotten, never adopted or sidelined by many charities.

A pervasive fear, perhaps, that critics would see spending on marketing as profligacy, taking money away from saving lives. Charity marketers are not alone in having to battle finance directors and get them to see marketing as a revenue generator and not a luxurious cost but there challenge is an even stiffer one.

The British public’s benevolence is seemingly never ending. Telethons or charity events such as Comic or Sport Relief never fail to capture the public’s imagination to the point they hand over their hard earned.

The majority in the third sector will not be presented with such an opportunity. What they can do, however, is follow the lead of the charities that have revamped their brands.

Marketing is the key to increasing the levels of fundraising. Without a creative approach to brand management, an investment in time if not budget, charities will fail to get their voices heard.

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