With summer coming to a close and a change of season upon us, the itch to change things up can sometimes arise, especially when things feel a little dated or fail to meet current standards. For many non-profit organizations (NPOs), a need for change entails a more in-depth reflection as it can call the organization’s branding into question. Just as in plural-sector organizations, brand identity is based on an organization’s core values and mission, with its ideals and personal characteristics expressed in simplified form as a single set of principles. However, when the mission and objectives no longer adequately speak to the organization’s clientele, it might be time to rethink the brand.
Look Before You Leap
The key in branding is consistency, so creating a new brand identity shouldn’t be undertaken on a whim. It demands more critical analysis. Any brand has a strategic purpose, as it conveys the marketing message defining a NPO’s vision and mission. This means that changing your brand identity too quickly can have negative repercussions, particularly if done at an inappropriate moment: timing is everything. Moreover, brand identity has a definite impact, a fact that has to be weighed carefully when thinking about innovating. In turn, people hold onto things they are accustomed to, and brand image is no different. When an image is consistent, it builds trust with target groups and creates meaning for them. Changing something that beneficiaries are used to might not be opportune in the long run, especially when they associate a specific brand with a particular cause.
Here are five tell-tale signs that it is a good time for an NPO to rebrand:
Effective brand identities target certain demographic groups and meet specific standards. Visuals become symbols for organizations. This is what makes brand marketing relevant and reliable: it provides a snapshot of the organization. In response to changing demographics, a brand identity has to evolve in order to effectively connect with its target clientele. If your NPO is changing, so must your branding, if you wish to maintain an innovative approach and stay true to the organization’s principles.
Like any proper brand identity, an organization’s mission and value must change as circumstances evolve. If certain objectives change, so must the non-profit’s brand image in order to properly reflect the new mission. It comes down to respecting the ideals established for any plural sector and respecting the image of the organization.
Like everything, trends come and go very quickly. What was once considered hip and trendy in terms of colours and fonts can soon fall flat and feel dated. NPOs that are looking to revive their brand image and give it new life, they can do so by carrying out a complete review, updating the logo, or coming up with a new slogan that captures the organization’s mission. It’s all about keeping up with the times. If something is outdated, it can lose appeal quickly in today’s fast-changing world.
Rebranding is often necessary to keep competitors at bay, particularly if another organization has a similar cause and there is some confusion with your own organization. Distinguishing oneself from similar plural-sector players and targeting a different market niche can prove invaluable in coming out on top. One beneficial aspect of this process of change is the opportunity for NPOs to study their competition and determine why a given brand identity has become successful. This competitive brand strategy is very important to global marketers and fundamental to the success and survival of any NPO.
At times, a brand image is created too quickly and just doesn’t live up to its full potential. Understanding this and returning to the drawing board to start from scratch is often the best solution. Redesigning a brand and making a fresh start can also spark an organization’s growth and development and help in achieving its clientele’s objectives.
Rebranding is no simple feat. It demands a great deal of reflection and analysis on many levels. When your brand identity is not connecting with the proper demographics or capturing the essence of your organization effectively, creating a new brand image is the best solution. Branding, like everything else, is an evolving process that demands considerable research and analysis on many fronts in order to assure NPOs a degree of longevity.