Nonprofits and branding: a Gruen lesson

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branding advice for nonprofits

Seen one, seen them all?

Hootville’s leader Brett de Hoedt is a small man in many ways. He refuses to watch The Gruen Transfer for one. Why? He’s too jealous of the host and panellists to tune in. He did however catch a few minutes of last night’s episode which he felt were valuable.

Condoms were being discussed when host Wil Anderson wondered aloud why more condom commercials didn’t simply highlight the benefits of condoms – mainly that they stop unwanted pregnancies and disease.

One panellist responded: “Well all condoms do that, so a commercial¬†promoting those features would be a commercial for the whole product category – not the specific brand.” (Yes we are paraphrasing a tad.)

In other words unless a brand (Durex, Ansell) stakes out a particular position for itself – thinnest, most natural, funnest, sexiest – it does nothing to distinguish itself from other brands in the category (condoms). That would be a big waste of money.

Hmmm…how many nonprofits do a good job of distingishing themselves from other brands (Beyond Blue, Mental Illness Fellowship Australia, Sane) in the category (mental illness services)?

Example #2: Does Wilderness Society separate itself from other brands (ACF, Greenpeace, LandCare) in its category (environmental organisations)? Or are its efforts just vaguely supporting the category?

Goodness – have a look at your efforts and send us your observations.

And puh-lease don’t write some bollocks about how nonprofits are too precious to be considered¬†‘brands’ in a ‘category’ and that any publicity is good for us all etc. It’s time to grow up and beyond that.

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