E. luke@luke-allan.co.uk

Interview: Branding in Focus

I recently spoke to Hannah Gannagé-Stewart, editor of Fundraiser Magazine, for an article entitled ‘Branding in focus: Uncover the key to successful branding’.

You can read a brief snippet from the interview below. Subscribe to The Fundraiser Magazine for the full article and for all your charity news and tips.

Brand raising

Family Resource Centre UK is a Berkshire charity that works to support families. Historically, it was a family information service, working closely with local authorities and heavily reliant on government funding. When Heather Hunter took over as CEO 18 months ago the charity was about to have almost all of it’s statutory funding cut. Hunter knew that in order to survive, the charity would have to diversify but was concerned that in doing so it might appear not to be conforming to its established identity.

She decided to drive the organisation forward operating within four strands that tie into the charity’s family support remit: information, education, health, and sport. The charity partnered with the School of Hoops youth sports initiative and in doing so came into contact with the projects brand manager, Luke Bowler.

“I had to bring somebody like Luke in because he knew what he was doing on branding,” explains Hunter. “Even six months ago, if I had gone to Reading Borough Council, who have funded us for years, and said ‘we want to move into sport’, they would have said ‘what do you know about sport?'”.

With Luke on board, she says the organisation has been able to clearly express how its new operations meet its expertise on family resources to external stakeholders.

With Bowler’s branding expertise it is now easier for the charity to identify projects that suit their brand. Strategically threading a consistent brand message through everything the organisation does has increased staff engagement, opened channels of communication with potential funders and is leading the charity towards its next goal of reaching out to individual donors – something it has never tried to do before.

“It would have been more difficult to approach an individual donor base with something that was in the pipeline or something that might happen six months from now” said Bowler. “With the advent of social media, if you’re not doing what you say you’re doing – it is going to get heard. And it’s going to get heard in a timeframe that you can’t do anything about”.

Bowler sums up what is possibly the root importance of brand consistency, put simply, organisations can’t keep up with the rate at which consumers move. What they can do is adapt. If a charity’s identity is strong and present in everything that they do then spotting the windows of opportunity to embrace change will be easier. Decisions will not be delayed by queries over whether or not a move into a new area, project or funding model will threaten the charities external perception. Staff will be engaged, donors will be proud advocates and the impact will speak for itself.

It was a pleasure to contribute to the conversation. In fact, we had a much deeper conversation about how the principles of branding can help charities of any size.

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