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Top tips from top charity brands

October 16th 2012
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I’ve been working with CharityComms on their latest best practice guide, Branding Inside Out. I’m not alone in this, a number of choice top tips have made their way into the brand melting pot too, contributed by a choice selection of top charity brands. As part of Brandtober I’m delighted to share some of these with you. Read, enjoy and share some of your own top tips in the comments section below.


Ali Sanders, Head of Brand, Macmillan Cancer Support

“Brands are built on the experiences people have with you. Focus on delivering fantastic customer experiences (for service users, for donors, for volunteers, for staff) and you’ll create a powerful brand. Communications can enhance that, but by themselves can’t create it.”


Louise Stevens, Head of Publications & Brand, RSPCA:

“You need buy in and leadership from the top of the organisation, ideally the CEO. Without this I think you have real limits to what you can achieve, not least as the CEO role is key in gaining trustee support”


Claire Sandham, Marketing & Brand Manager, Diabetes UK:

“Be clear on the rationale for rebranding and make sure your staff are clear too. Your colleagues are one of your most important advocates. If they don’t understand the reason for rebranding, you won’t get their buy in. And if they don’t support it, they won’t be able to sell it to their stakeholders and audiences in turn.”

Sylvie Barr, Senior Manager, Brand and Publishing, RNIB:

“Find the brand promise that will join up all the things you do.”



Jane Health, Head of Communications & Marketing, Breast Cancer Care:

“A strong charity brand can’t encompass absolutely everything that the charity does, and you have to remain very firm about that internally as otherwise the brand will become diluted and bland”


Gemma Routledge, Brand Manager, WWF-UK:

“It’s not about what you do as an organisation, it’s about how you do it. Once you identify what that is and how it gives you stand-out, you can help colleagues to understand it, articulate it and live it. Because it’s got to be everyone managing the brand, not just the brand manager”

“Accept trade-offs with fundraising. Otherwise you’ll go mad. But never give up demonstrating the value your brand gives to fundraising activities and why they should respect and nurture it for the long term: Research is your friend.”

Glen Colegate, Creative Director, Friends of the Earth:

“Be Brave. Great brands are original in thinking and execution. Go against the grain in your sector, don’t just try and copy something you like or you will always be an ‘also’ and never a leader.”


Helen de Soyza, Brand and Advertising Manager, Action for Children:

“Make sure you take your staff on the brand journey with you and never underestimate the power of word of mouth communications. You may not have huge marketing budgets, but if you have enthusiastic staff that are fully engaged in your brand you can help to build brand awareness through word of mouth”

Ed Smith, Brand and Design Manager, Teenage Cancer Trust:

“Give people the tools to use the brand easily. This means setting up easy-to-use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint templates, image libraries, email signatures, poster templates and logo libraries. Providing an accessible style guide is also important, but my advice would be to keep it short and sweet. Most people have neither the time nor inclination to care what type size they should be using.”

“All new members of staff are now given a half-hour induction to the brand. This gets people on-board right from the beginning. Also, offering workshops every few months can help you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the brand from the team’s perspective.”

Rob George, Head of Insight, RSPB:

“Your brand ambitions have to be tied into your strategic objectives. Your brand can provide the bridge between your past and your future.”


Sarah Bradford, Communications Manager, Conciliation Resources:

“Make sure you get everyone within the organisation on board from the start and bring them with you through the process, consulting them regularly. It may be more time-consuming but means they are much more likely to ‘own’ the brand when you’re finished.”


Louise Kyme, Brand & Design Manager, British Heart Foundation:

“Give your colleagues the emotional context of your brand, not just the nuts and bolts.”



Nicola Tallett, Director of Fundraising and Marketing, MS Society:

“Put the brand at the heart of how you do things wherever you are in the organisation. You must be true to who you are as an organisation and let your brand shine through everything from services to finance, HR, communications and fundraising.”


Anghard Mckenzie, Head of Supporter Development, WaterAid:

“If you fundraising is not creating brand loyalty, and your brand isn’t helping you deliver amazing fundraising results something’s wrong. Tackle the root cause head on. Treating symptoms will be a constant pain and frustration for all involved and worse still, end in compromises that serve neither purpose.”

Annie Moreton, Head of Individual Giving, Save the Children:

“Your brand story isn’t just about telling people who you are and what you do, it is about actively engaging them in it. There has to be a call to action built into the brand story,  and it’s as much about your audiences and donors as it is just you.”

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Dan is The Good Agency's Head of Brand – and an expert on brand identities for third-sector organisations.

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