Night of the Brand Shamans

January 25, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Jeff Brooks, Fundraising Success Magazine:


Something strange often happens when nonprofits turn their attention to branding. Here’s how you can avoid the nightmare branding sometimes unleashes on unwary organizations.

You can sense the evil magic, tingling like static electricity. That’s one sign brand shamans are at work in a nonprofit. Other signs include:

  • Rampant scheduling of focus groups. 
  • Nonstop chanting of the word “standards,” like a spooky mantra. 
  • Appearance of spiral-bound books filled with pictures of ways the logo should not be used.

“Branding” has swept through the nonprofit world. This should make communication better. But it hasn’t turned out that way. Branding actually has done more harm than good.

We can thank the brand shamans. Their backward form of branding fails to reach donors because it’s built on organizational aspirations and preferences – not donor needs. It’s a blend of dogged consistency and poor design principles, held together with bogus research. Continue.

Entry filed under: non-profit ip.

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