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Charities-Branding on a budget

29/10/2013

As charity communications workers will know, branding is hugely important in a sector where public perception is vital and many smaller organisations work around similar areas, making differentiation an important part of the comms role.

While many experts feel it is difficult for smaller firms to engage in serious branding, the reality is that these firms are the ones which need it most - after all, the likes of Oxfam and Amnesty are already in the public eye to such a degree it is relatively easy for them to reach a large audience.

Especially with the third sector currently undergoing major funding cuts and facing an influx of work as statutory services struggle to cope with the volume of issues they are dealing with, creating a strong profile is crucial.

But how can smaller organisations do this without breaking the bank? Writing for Charity Comms, digital communications consultant Zoe Amar stressed the importance of taking a holistic approach to branding.

Talking to key stakeholders about what they feel the most important messages are ensures everyone at a company is on board with the marketing and advertising campaigns, and ensures messages are not muddied by taking a range of different approaches or tacks.

"One of the best things you can do is to go out and talk to opinion leaders in your charity's audience. Buy them a coffee and ask them for their brutally honest views about your brand," advised Ms Amar.

As the name suggests, communications is fundamentally about talking to people, and gauging the opinions of as many engaged professionals as possible can ensure branding does not go down the wrong path early in its gestation.

Ms Amar finally warned that the great danger of branding is to fall into complacency after completing one project.

"I've seen good charities fall into this trap and it can lead to the failure of the whole organisation. The great challenge of working in communications is that your market is continually shifting," she explained.