It is undeniable that branding has such an immense power over the success of one organization. Branding seems a lot simpler when the tangible product to offer, place to display, and price for it all are available. And what about Non-governmental Organizations? Do they still need branding? The answer is: YES.
NGOs are powerful influence shaping the markets and establishments of policies, as well as means to raise awareness for societal issues. Though NGOs does not give the impressions to have all the marketing mix components (4Ps) for them to need branding, but in fact, they need branding as much as any other organizations. NGOs flourish on trust and reliance, which require them to develop a strong emotional and social bond to public and specific groups for them to win over. The well establish emotional bond and trust are the key determining factor in Non-governmental environments as they are aiming more on raising awareness, initiate actions, and fund-raising rather than profit.
A portion of NGOs success is determined by the way specific groups perceive your organization; in this case, the specific groups are potential donors for the organization. The right branding allows NGOs to distinct themselves from others and attains awareness, emotional bond, and capability to raise fund for the organization from these specific groups and public; as I believe that NGOs should never be a ‘crowd pleaser’. It suppose to stay true to the cause it serves and the value its build on.
Branding for NGOs, I believe should be more like storytelling. Not just it is the perfect branding tool, as it is unique and memorable, but it is also shareable. Great stories told often have to be able consistently engage the audience imagination and authentic, this authenticity that helps to generate trust and credibility. Because donors not only have to choose which organization to support, but they would want to know why they should support your organization, and has your organization are available for the right cause. Being transparent in every decision made is another way to gain credibility not only to potential donors, but the public at the same time.
When you gain the connection and trust from the public and donors, as a NGOs, important for you to be able to make promise that are bold and audacious, because it could affect the public’s impression of the whole story that you are telling. It is either exceptional or it is not worth listening to. Take an example of PETA, they are vocal in expressing their support for animal rights. They have successfully making statement in the society through engaging celebrities’ spokesperson for number of their campaigns/PSA and act of throwing paint/flour to the fur wearer.
Apart from making the right impression through the promise, the promise has to appeal not to logic, rather it appeal to senses. As NGOs not only have to appeal and motivate the public and donors, but it have to appeal and motivate the volunteers to work at the same time. Therefore brand alignment is critical, where it is the ability to deliver your promise and story, and doing what you say you is going to do; and integrate it to the whole organization.
The increasing emphasize for people to be more socially aware and responsible, goes without saying with the increasing number of NGOs. When there are more NGOs, there are more voices trying to persuade people to their causes, budding the importance of NGOs to manage their brand perceptions and alignment to distinct themselves against other. While it is true that each NGOs has specific niche market to cater, but strong brand for NGOs will help to complement the available resources, funding-donors, and most suitable individuals for each cause communicated.