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5 challenges to a strong brand

by The NonProfit Times - July 15, 2014

The need to maintain a well-respected brand is an accepted truth in the nonprofit sector, but a huge gulf exists between saying and doing. During the 2014 Cause Marketing Forum, Erica Chan, Thomas Goerner and Dominik Prinz of Interbrand said that establishing a standout brand faces strong challenges. Those challenges are:

  • Social change is complex. The complex nature of social change means that impact, especially that which focuses on fundamental systemic change, often takes a long time to achieve and observe.
  • No one size yet fits all. Most of the time, programs and organizations differ widely in their unique mission and approach to creating change. This makes it very difficult to compare and benchmark the results they are achieving.
  • 1 + 1 does not always equal 2. Foundations and brands that have defined a specific social mission often pursue it by funding various projects in different local contexts, each one encountering varying economic, political, infrastructural, environmental or sometimes cultural circumstances.
  • Resourcing is a roadblock. Important as it is, answering the question “What’s your impact?” can be a timely and expensive undertaking. Mission-based organizations often have to balance between capturing and reporting results, and spending scarce resources on program implementation.
  • Measurement is only as good as the stories it tells and lessons it teaches. The benefits of tracking impact can only be fully achieved when the results are used and communicated effectively. Doing so might require organizational behavioral change.


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