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February 27, 2008

Reinventing the Nonprofit Brand

Jill Stoddard
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Today marks the launch of CBS’s most ambitious ad campaign to date.

Rebranding initiatives are becoming more common among nonprofits — particularly educational institutions — as these organizations adopt marketing strategies that previously were used only in the for-profit world.

Possible reasons for this shift? Increased global competition may be putting pressure on nonprofits to better distinguish themselves from similar organizations. And the Internet is providing easy outlets for messaging, along with examples of the value of a solid branding strategy.

But as nonprofits move toward for-profit strategies, how do they balance promoting their brand with promoting their underlying altruistic mission? (The Red campaign comes to mind). And are there limits to how far brand managers should go to adopt what have traditionally been for-profit tools?

Comments

by Ray horton | May 05, 2008 at 1:47 PM

My answer to the question you pose is that the full range of for-profit skills or tools can be usefully applied to nonprofit organizations, with just a few caveats. Branding is certainly one of the business practices that nonprofits, like Columbia Business School, can usefully apply. About the only limit on branding in the nonprofit sector is also, or should be, a limit in the business sector--honesty about what's being sold to the public.

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