Author: Bob Cryer
Executive Coaches of Orange County
The Future Fundraising Now blog had a Halloween special posting that they called “Things that should scare the heck out of fundraisers”. One of their four scary thoughts was Branding experts. “If they show up at your door, slam it. If they get in, run away. They are going to devour your fundraising program with their grand abstractions and faddish designs.”
Many nonprofits and for-profits are constantly growing and evolving into something that is quite different from what they were when the first branded themselves. Is this a good reason to hire branding experts to give your organization a new name, logo, business system and PR campaign to publicize a new brand name?
My old employer Procter and Gamble (P&G) may have been the inventor of the idea of a brand in the 1800s. One of our first brands was Ivory Soap. A worker left a mixer run during his lunch break resulting in a soap that was filled with air, which gave it an ivory color and enabled it to float. People seemed to like the soap. So we added it to our product line, calling it Ivory with the tag line “It Floats” to emphasize its unique properties. When washing machines were invented in the 1900s, people wanted something other than a bar soap to wash clothes with. So P&G gave them Ivory Flakes. It didn’t float, but it didn’t matter. Ivory was a name people trusted, so the name helped us launch a new product. When P&G invented granular detergents in the 1940s (Tide), some consumers wanted a granular soap, so we gave them Ivory Snow. When they wanted a dishwashing liquid, we gave them Ivory Liquid for the same reason.
If your nonprofit has a name that people know and trust, keep it and use it to help you market all of your products and services, and to convince donors that you are continuing to build on the good works that you have been doing for all the years of your existence. An established brand is an asset that you should build upon rather than discard.