Overcoming charity brand barriers without big budgets

Charity brand management barriers copyright Red Pencil

Charity brand management barriers copyright Red Pencil

Last week I ran a workshop at the Building A Brand That Delivers conference based on Small Charity Brand Survey research I’d carried out with Cass Business School.

There was a very lively discussion on the charity brand barriers that my research had identified and people shared their experiences of brand barriers in their organisations and how they were managing them. Here’s a round up of some of those tips from participants and my budget suggestions. I’d love to hear yours!

Workshop tip: “Carry out research with your beneficiaries and stakeholders to find out what they think of your brand – that can help you make the case for brand investment internally.”

Budget tip: Use free tools like Survey Monkey to regularly test what people think of your brand. Try and get a good set of survey questions that you can use again every so often to check whether anything has changed.

Workshop tip: “We have found that interns can be really good – particularly on social media.”

Budget tip: Definitely think wide and use expertise from among the people closest to your organisation. Involve your board. Use their expertise and networks. When using interns, work experience and volunteer contributions have a very clear brief and outcomes so you use their input efficiently and productively.

Workshop tip: “Use pro bono support from agencies to help manage costs of brand implementation.”

Budget tip: Use LinkedIn to research the professional backgrounds and personal interests of potential agency contacts. Like major donor research the best matches will be with people within agencies who have a personal interest or connection with your cause.

Workshop tip: “Be prepared to not be top of the list of jobs when working with agencies and not paying.”

Budget tip: Long timeframes can cause hidden costs (time, people, money) so be very clear about the brief and what will be delivered before embarking on any relationship. Check very carefully what input you can have and the exact deliverables.

That said, a great example of a charity using pro bono very well is Coppafeel. They are brilliantly authentic about their brand, story and cause, which will provide a very firm foundation for conversations with agencies.

Workshop tip: “There are other sources of support out there. Try looking on LinkedIn for anyone with a CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) qualification in their profile.”

Budget tip: Agreed! Our other suggestions would be Bright One, Small Charities Coalition, Media Trust, CharityComms but also consultants. We network, blog, are on social media and often happy to share.

You can talk to me – I’m regularly at IoF First Thursday, IoF Consultants SIG and CharityComms.

I also regularly read Sounddelivery, Zoe Amar, Trina Wallace, Sarah Myers and Alex Swallow. But find your own favourites!

One last takeaway for charity brand barriers

The Small Charity Brand Survey research confirmed that charities were better able to manage the barriers and see the benefits of brand management if the responsibility for managing brands cut across all levels of the organisation. So whatever the size of your organisation, you can build a brand that delivers if staff, trustees and volunteers realise that everyone has a role in managing the brand.

Go Back