Interbrand | Pg. 2Not-for-profit brandingMaximizing chances for successby Graham HalesThe prolonged period of austerity over the That’s why, when embarking on a brand examples. The strategic rationale shouldlast few years has led to an increased need refresh, non-profit brands should be prepared be simply articulated and disseminatedfor organizations to effectively manage their for resistance, both internally and externally. internally and externally to allbrands as assets, keeping them relevant and From the inside, employees, volunteers and stakeholders prior to launch.attractive. This is especially true for not-for- even the core management team, such asprofit brands, which have an income that • Tailor your message: Naturally, each finance, are likely to challenge the initiative.is almost entirely discretionary. Indeed, stakeholder group will have different The same it likely to occur externally withmore and more non-profit organizations questions and concerns, all of which donors, the general public, and the mediaare thinking long and hard about how they should be anticipated and considered in unless the benefits associated with thepresent themselves to the world, frequently advance. Donors, for example, will want changes are clearly conveyed. If the internalresulting in dramatic changes. So what to know how much of their money is and external parties are not manageddoes it take to make sure the brand refresh being consumed by the brand-building carefully, such scrutiny can undermine theis a success? And how do you get such a activity. Meanwhile, political groups will entire brand-building effort, reducing internaldiverse set of stakeholders to align around a want to understand what the change commitment to the cause and generatingcommon vision? means in terms of the organization’s negative publicity that could threaten future future focus and activities. Each audienceSuccess factor #1: Anticipate and manage donations and volunteer support. should receive targeted communicationsresistance Practical suggestions for managing and support material throughout theBrand-building initiatives, particularly among resistance: launch period.charities, have been a subject of much • Have a compelling story: First anddebate. Critics argue that such initiatives • Be flexible and available: One-on- foremost, there needs to be a clear andrepresent a diversion of precious funds away one meetings, seminars, workshops, consistent logic behind the brandingfrom core activities and claim that branding conferences and online channels are all activity. What are the main drivers behindis merely an aesthetic and superficial valid mechanisms for communicating the change? What is at risk if you do notundertaking. As a result, not-for-profit brands the story and rationale behind the review your brand? What will the mainoften treat branding as a cost item rather brand refresh. Each has its pros and benefits to the organization be in thethan an investment in the organization’s cons. It is important to choose a mix of medium-term and long-term? What willfuture, based on a misunderstanding of how channels that provide full coverage of be different? Be specific and use tangiblebranding creates sustainable value. all target groups and serve to maximize
Not-for-profit branding: Maximizing chances for success Interbrand | Pg. 3 engagement with the brand liked and less of the things that they didn’t post-launch with the introduction of new most effectively. want or like. initiatives, activities and ways of working that serve to create substance in the brand’s• Listen and respond: To cope with the Practical suggestions to keep loyalists on positioning. The challenge is to maintain plethora of questions that will surface your side: sufficient momentum to bring the brand both prior to launch and post-launch, a • Build on existing truths: It is imperative to promise to life. Internally and externally process should be established to map, have a clear view of what your stakeholders it needs to be seen as more than just a consider and respond in a timely and value and to demonstrate how these visual identity change. The risk of failing to professional manner. Some questions can aspects will continue to feature (and be build momentum after launch is that the be addressed with a generic response, reinforced) in the future. Communications organization is also likely to fail to live up to but others will need tailored answers. activities should reassure all parties that its new ideals and instead fall back into old, Managing consistency and quality of any change is born out of a genuine desire established working patterns. Launch day is response is critical, so is ensuring there’s a to better deliver on what stakeholders not the end of the brand refresh process, but cross-functional team ready to anticipate want and need. Whereas the brand refresh in fact day one of the effort. and answer questions across HR, implies a shift in emphasis to new ideals, Marketing and Operations . values or ways of working, a plan should be The need to maintain momentum post- implemented to explain the reasons in launch is not specific to not-for-profits;Success factor #2: Keep loyalists on your clear terms. commercial organizations face the sameside challenge. The main difference is thatNot-for-profit organizations rely on strong • Keep an open dialogue: Internally, all in a not-for-profit context, a significantemotional commitment to the cause stakeholders need to feel as though they proportion of the change will need tofrom a range of stakeholders. Frequently, are part of the new organization; that they be enacted by volunteers who are nottrustees, employees, volunteers and donors are actively shaping it, rather than it being formally employed on contract. Accordingly,provide their time, energy and commitment imposed on them. Having in place feedback behavioral adjustment cannot be so easilybecause feel a genuine, close emotional mechanisms, either online, through incentivized through amendments to jobattachment to the vision and mission of the seminars, or even via an internal helpdesk descriptions or contracts. As a result, the joborganization. The brand encapsulates all of will provide them with an outlet to voice of driving cultural change becomes all thethese attributes, which is why it is critical any concerns they may have and more more difficult.that any change is managed in a way that importantly, to collect valuable insightmaintains the loyalty and support of those into how the brand positioning should be For larger not-for-profits, there is often akey stakeholders. implemented in a way that maximizes their further obstacle in that many employees commitment. In fact, brand loyalists should and volunteers work in remote locations,A substantial shift, or a change of even be encouraged (and rewarded) to blog with limited contact with the head officedirection can disengage individuals — on social networking sites on behalf of the driving the change. The challenge is toat worst causing them to re-evaluate organization to express the great work ensure that everybody is engaged in thetheir relationship with the organization. being done. This is a much more honest and process, especially those working in front-Therefore the challenge is to guide internal convincing way to build brand advocacy. line roles that represent the face of theand external stakeholders (the lifeblood of organization to the outside world. Indeed,the not-for-profit organization) through Success factor #3: Maintain momentum Rachel Murphy, Head of Brand Managementa journey of change. Stakeholders should post-launch at Shelter felt that this was one of the mostbe able to see in the refreshed brand more Defining the organization’s brand is the first difficult concepts to grasp. She explains, “Theof the things that they always wanted and step in the process. The real change comesStakeholders should be able to see in therefreshed bran more of the things that theyalways wanted and liked and less of thethings they didn’t want or like.
Not-for-profit branding: Maximizing chances for success Interbrand | Pg. 4 Greater ownership will not only overcome any initial resistance to the change, it will create momentum of its own. absolute biggest learning is that you’ve got volunteer and part-time workers working Relevant Case Study The Petroc rebrand: to first go back to the fundamentals of what in remote locations, who may otherwise A case study in managing resistance, keeping loyalists and your brand is about and then be crystal clear feel removed from the process. maintaining momentum with everyone that they have to live and North Devon and East Devon Colleges provide academic and Principles for success breathe the brand and all that it means. It vocational education to students from 16 upwards. Following In brief, there are three core principles that a merger, the newly combined institution had no overarching needs to be reinforced at every opportunity.” should be followed, that will maximize the character to help differentiate it against the region’s many competing colleges. Practical suggestions for maintaining chances of success when refreshing a not- momentum post-launch: for-profit brand: To raise the profile of the new college and reposition it as a leading institution above and beyond the reach of the • Develop hallmarks: A hallmark is a proof- 1. Anticipate and manage resistance: immediate region, the school decided to radically rebrand the point or hook that captures the essence newly formed institution. Anticipating, understanding and dealing of the brand idea. Oxfam, for instance, with the questions and concerns that A vision that asks for radical change is never going to be easily transformed its charity shops from being accepted, so the school insisted on a collaborative process, emerge before and during the brand purely second-hand stores, to points of heavily involving the staff and students in the actual brand review is critical. Stakeholders need to creation. distribution for products originating in be seen and used as supportive of the developing countries (such as jewelry, A series of audits and interviews revealed the core strength change, rather than as obstacles to it. underlying both college experiences: The ability to open stationery and crafts). These stores are people’s eyes to the raft of opportunities out in the world. This a strong hallmark for the brand because 2. Keep loyalists onside: Loyal insight formed the foundation for the brand: “Opening Eyes.” they reinforce Oxfam’s commitment to fair stakeholders are crucial to ongoing To ensure that the new brand remained meaningful and trade and the economic development of success and the brand refresh needs relevant to already loyal stakeholders, the school solicited local communities. The City of Edinburgh to carefully managed, so as not to staff, students and other stakeholders to help generate the new name in naming and language workshops. wanted to raise its international profile disengage them. Understanding what and chose to coincide the refresh of its drives commitment and keeping The final name selected through this collaborative process was Petroc. As the sixth Century Celtic Christian Saint, who brand with an international exposition. communications channels open with ministered in Devon and Cornwall, the name has equity This reflected the city’s core ethos of them throughout the process is essential throughout the area – and yet, it also sounds contemporary. being an inspiring place to work, live and to maintaining their support. It signals one single college, and coupled with a fresh and dynamic visual identity, truly helps demonstrate radical do business in. By establishing hallmarks 3. Maintain momentum post-launch: change. The supergraphic, which is distilled from elements of that cut to the very core of the brand, be the region’s topography and colors, also redefines traditional Momentum can be cemented behind the they activities, campaigns or events, you notions of Devon. change by quickly establishing proof- will help stakeholders to understand what While the change created quite a stir within the local points that capture the essence of the the change is really all about, signalling a community, it has ultimately proved positive. Said David refreshed brand. Encouraging ideas Shuttleworth, Head of External Affairs at Petroc: “Despite the shift from the past and building a positive and suggestions from those involved in extensive consultation process to developing a new name, we momentum for further change were taken aback by just how ferocious the reaction would driving the change will create buy-in and going forward. be. The biggest learning is that when it’s all kicking off, is that ownership which will help to prevent you have to have faith in the journey you’ve been on and hold • Engage and empower: To win the the effort from stalling. Remember that the line. With hindsight it sounds easy. It’s not; but hindsight has also shown that the controversy fell away as time wore support and buy-in to the brand refresh launch day is not the end of the brand on. And what we’ve been left with is a fantastic new brand. effort internally, it is important to refresh process, but in fact day one of We started with two wholly different colleges. Now – a year engage employees and volunteers in its the effort. ■ on – we are one. development. Co-creating initiatives, activities and ways of working that reinforce the brand idea will help to cement the shift. Greater ownership will not only overcome any initial resistance to the change, it will create momentum of its own. This is particularly important for
Graham HalesGraham Hales is Interbrand London’s CEO.His work for Interbrand’s top clients hastaken him across a diverse range of businessagendas, geographes and cultures. Creating and managinginterbrand.com brand value TM