Per request of a friend, this newest post gives my thoughts of branding strategies for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While all NGOs use a great branding strategy to promote whatever issue they stand for, the two I will be talking about are close to my heart and have continued to present their brands effectively.
World Wildlife Fund: My name is Amanda, so naturally my favorite animal growing up was a panda bear – so original. Before Ieven understood what WWF was, my clothes and stuffed animals had the panda logo. Now whenever I see the iconic panda bear, I understand that the items I am purchasing and the event or program that it’s sponsoring is helping raise both awareness and funds for the Earth’s wild life. While unfortunately its initials are linked to those of the World Wrestling Federation, the organization has created a brand that successfully differentiates the two, and blows the other organization out of the water. With a mission statement reading “building a future in which people live in harmony with nature,” the brand this organization wants to portray is clearly understood, and very admirable. I think a great thing WWF does to promote its brand is enable people to get involved in any way they want, helping ensure their mission is carried out.
Special Olympics: The Special Olympics Organization is by far my favorite organization. This organization has branded itself to strive for equality for everyone with a special disability and also celebrate and embrace the differences between everyone. I’ve been a Special Olympics volunteer for as long as I can remember, and nothing has been more rewarding than helping the athletes. They’ve taught me valuable life lessons and some of the friendships I’ve created while participating in this organization are some of the greatest I’ve ever known. What I love about the Special Olympics brand is that it always updates people about what is going on with the organization. Whether it’s to get involved or it’s revealing personal stories of athletes, Special Olympics is maintaining good relations among followers, like myself, to get them the latest news. I think social media is crucial for brand awareness in this day in age, and the Special Olympics does a fantastic job in incorporating their mission into Facebook, Twitter, a blog and YouTube sites. When I want to find out how to get involved I can simply check their Twitter feed to see what is going on around me. I also love that Special Olympics introduces participants to their favorite athletes, including Michael Jordan and Apolo Ohno – it makes the whole experience come together. Overall, the brand this organization has built is one that is trustworthy and has fostered the “acceptance and inclusion of all people.”
A brand is more than a mission statement. It’s more than a logo and it’s more than a service. A brand is an experience. For WWF and Special Olympics, the experiences people have when participating in these organization are ones that are rewarding and make differences. While all NGOs are created for the greater good, I think these two organizations have produced brands that exemplify professional and meaningful service.