Brand management: sector trends shape new practices

“You have a brand whether you like it or not. Really the only choice you have is how actively you want to shape and manage that brand,” says Ingrid Srinath, executive director of Childline India.

Coauthors Nathalie Laidler-Kylander and Julia Shepard Stenzel share this quotation by Ingrid Srinath in their book because they identify with her passion and conviction for proactively managing your brand.

Last week we featured a revolutionary approach to branding, which Kylander and Stenzel present in their new book The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy and Affinity. The authors argue that the nonprofit world is changing and so must our notions surrounding brand management.

We can no longer simply borrow corporate prescriptions for overseeing our positional growth. Instead, we must adopt a framework that is both a guidepost for decision making and a test for relevancy. Integrity, Democracy and Affinity (I-DE-A) are mutually supportive terms contained in the authors’ framework and serve as the foundational concepts you can live by and depend on for organizational collaboration and expansion.

We asked Nathalie and Julia about the paradigm shift they account for in brand management as well as the most critical concept within the brand IDEA framework. Join us for the answers.

CausePlanet: We like your approach to brand management and how the framework addresses a paradigm shift. Will you please explain how the IDEA framework accommodates this shift?

Kylander and Stenzel: The Brand IDEA framework builds on the paradigm shift we have been seeing in the nonprofit sector. The framework as a whole is about effectively managing your brand to drive your desired social impact. This is a central idea in the paradigm shift, where we see the role of the brand moving from being focused on fundraising to a much broader and more strategic focus on mission impact.

The new paradigm sees the brand not as a logo, but as the embodiment of the organization’s mission and values. This is captured in the concept of brand Integrity, which includes aligning the brand with the organization’s mission and values.

Communications are no longer one-way projections of a specific image focused on donors but are about participative engagement. This is captured in our concept of brand Democracy, which actively engages internal and external stakeholders in articulating and communicating the brand.

The positioning of the brand is not to gain competitive advantage, but to achieve greater clarity and effective partnerships. This corresponds to the concept of brand Affinity, which includes leveraging your brand to identify and attract partnerships and collaborations to achieve shared goals and increase your impact.

CausePlanet: While you acknowledge the IDEA concepts are mutually supportive, which of them is most critical?

Kylander and Stenzel: Brand Integrity and brand Democracy are closely intertwined and we believe these are the most critical and the best starting points for effectively managing your nonprofit brand. The participatory process of brand Democracy is essential in creating brand Integrity. The process of achieving Integrity, or the alignment of the brand with your mission and values and the alignment of internal identity and external image, helps in turn with implementing brand Democracy. Specifically, having this alignment allows you to empower brand ambassadors by letting go of strict brand controls and providing guidelines and templates for wide use. Brand Affinity is about using your aligned brand to support partnerships and collaborations. Increasingly, nonprofits are recognizing their social objectives cannot be achieved alone. Using your brand to support shared goals can substantially increase the impact of your organization. Once you have a strong brand identity with an aligned image, which you have built through a process of brand Democracy, you can then use this brand to drive key partnerships and collaborations to achieve greater impact.

See also:

Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding: Seven Principles to Power Extraordinary Results

Brandraising: How Nonprofits Raise Visibility and Money through Smart Communications



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