Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Charity Brand Index

22 July, 2010 - 15:03 -- John Burton

I read a report on the Charity Brand Index, which assessed the top 100 UK charity brands, following a public survey.

This at first sight seems very interesting. People are much more aware of cancer charities than World Wildlife Fund for instance (or WWF as it prefers to be rebranded as). But is this really true or for that matter of any importance? It is a bit like saying people are more aware of hospitals than vets or undertakers, or more aware of steam trains than books, autistic children or retired soldiers (all of which have charities associated with them). However, the person who has a pet, or whose father has just died, or has had a connection with  or interest in any of those mentioned  will almost certainly have a very different perspective.

In theory, as the CEO of a charity,  brand awareness should be very important to me. But in the way this report describes it, it simply is not important or relevant. I am only really interested in how aware our target audience is. Our target audience probably does not include a large part of the general public.

A random sample of the public will tell me very little. But a sample of, say, the National Trust membership visiting a nature reserve, or a sample of the RSPB membership, and knowing how many of them are aware of the WLT, now that might be helpful.

The bottom line is that if an organisation is doing well, then surveys, particularly random surveys, have very little value, but like so much of modern society's activities, there are jobs at stake.   Corporate branding was to me one of the great cons of the latter part of the 20th century. And it now appears that researching that branding is another way of squeezing money from charities.

Do you think that researching the branding of charities is important? Let us know.


Submitted by Dominic Belfield on

I took part in a survey at Kew Gardens the other week.
In it I was asked questions about biodiversity (Year of etc), and about charities – with a view to high-lighting Kew’s Seed Bank project of course – and asked to rate various charities like WWF, Plantlife, and big cancer and development ‘brands’ against each other. WLT was not among them.
However, it did end up by asking which environmental charity I did support. I (of course!) made an enthusiastic mention of WLT.
The questioner, a 20′s something, bright and confident woman, responded with equal enthusiasm; she too rated WLT highly on the basis of reports from others she knew in the ‘enviro’ world.

Word gets round.

By raising WLT when it had not been anywhere mentioned before, we both agreed that maybe while ‘Rome is burning’ habitat-destructionwise, WLT has the most compelling plan of action going and thereby was more worthy of support than some (let’s face it ALL) of the other NGO’s. She did have to remain un-biased, but was happy to acknowledge my case for.
Isn’t this the best kind of publicity there is? Based on personal experience and in a PR/celeb-gushing/chugger free context, the citation may be limited in scope but when backed up by credible public figures like David Attenborough, it cannot but carry great weight and power.
If we all tried, when appropriate, to bring our recommendations to the fore when conditions allow it, WLT will surely feel that power.

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