When most people hear the word ‘brand’, they think of names, logos, and colours. They think of businesses – of brand as a mere marketing tool, something cultivated by companies to sell products and boost bottom lines.
But the importance of brand isn’t limited to commercial enterprises alone. Developing a recognisable, consistent, and trustworthy brand is just as vital for organisations in the non-profit sphere, as well.
So, what does the concept of brand mean, exactly?
At its core, it’s the way a charity, company, person, or product is perceived by those who interact with it. Sure, the way in which a charity presents itself – be it through images, words, design, or tone – is important. Ultimately, however, brand refers not to these assets alone, but the feelings they provoke in the people that use them.
In that sense, a charity must ensure that its brand reflects the values at its heart, in order to attract the support and loyalty of like-minded people. The stronger a charity’s brand image – the more it resonates with its audience, and their own values – the more people will feel connected to it.
For a charity like ellenor – a Gravesend-based hospice that provides care for patients – adults and children with life-limiting illnesses, as well as supporting their families – this is particularly crucial.
After all, ellenor relies on the generosity of the local community in Kent to continue its vital work there. Yet, similarly to other charities, the difficulty for ellenor lies in imploring people to pledge their time, energy, and support – or put their hand in their pocket – to aid a cause for which they may not receive anything tangible in return.
Essentially, ellenor needs funding – but to get that, it must use its brand to develop and engage the right people.
“We need to nurture and stewardship our existing supporters, and we do that primarily through the brand,” says Georgina Lestini, Head of ellenor’s Communications and Marketing team. “We want to make sure we’ve got brand visibility and strong values, and that people resonate with what they feel we stand for.”
From a practical standpoint, ellenor’s recently-revised Vision, Mission, and Values help achieve just that – establishing the charity’s ‘North Star’ and conveying this to the community. ellenor’s overarching principle – ”People are at the heart of everything we do” – helps lay the foundation for its concrete values, which include we are caring, we are focussed, we are inclusive.”
Yet a charity’s brand should be reflected not only in its values, but in its vision, too. ellenor communicates its own vision – we are dedicated to enabling every person we support to have a seamless and personal experience that meet their needs and wishes. And with our mission to respect a patients’ dignity and independence, providing quality care and supporting them and their families to live with a life limiting illness in their home or in our hospice in the place of their choosing – through a recently-added strapline, which sits just underneath its logo; "hospice care in our home or yours".