Using Brands for Social Impact
With increasing need to play in the social enterprise space or market based contexts like NDIS and CDC for Australian NFPs it is increasingly becoming important to focus on building brands.
This seems especially true in the social sector. “The term ‘brand’ is a bit dirty in this space,” explained a colleague of mine who runs a social enterprise. “Folks get nervous that we’re spending money superficially.” Insofar as it’s true, that outlook is unfortunate. With the swelling number of social impact organizations bringing vital products and services to market, brands are tools to drive impact. Trying to increase adoption of solar lanterns? Decrease open defecation? Broaden immunization coverage? Sell more disinfectant soap? Brands should be in the social sector—as they have long been in the private sector—a strategic asset to achieve preferred outcomes.
A recent experience for a client I am consulting for highlights the need.
Their current clients love them, especially the people who care for them. However, when asked which organisation they belong to they could not name it. They appreciate the work for Kathy Ireland but when asked where she is from there is brand recognition.
If social sector organisations need to continue to create value for their clients it is key to strategically focus on building brands.