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NGOs, How Are You Perceived?

Online branding tips for local NGOs.

NGOs, How Are You Perceived?

Every time I travel, trust that you can find me in the nearest Fossil shop deciding which piece to add to my watch collection. It’s is now a fully unconscious decision, I no longer go through the entire consumer buying process or need to analyze my decision post-purchase. My loyalty is solidified by my positive perception of this brand and the emotions wearing one of their watches evokes.

A brand’s communication to its target is important; Fossil’s email marketing regularly updates me on new campaigns and selections. However, the target’s perception of that brand will also determine its success; I look at Fossil and I think vintage and stylish, fun and friendly. In this ever connected age of the internet, social media, mobile devices and a world made smaller by globalization, brands have to be very mindful of what people are saying about them and ensure that it syncs back to their core values. 

In my previous blogs, I spoke about NGOs improving their online presence and being aware of who is online. The third question to ask yourself is ‘How do I want people to perceive my cause?’

NGOs are not immune to the rapid advancements in technology and the way people interact with their favorite brands and charities. They also have to innovate to solidify their relevance among a market that spends much of their time online. People do want to donate to causes that resonate with them but the direction of the world demands more options than making a deposit in a specific bank. 

The American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity are great examples of NGOs managing their brand in structured and meaningful ways. Of course, there is a difference between brand strategies for NGOs as compared to the for-profit sector – NGOs aren’t directly marketing to raise revenue. There is a broader scope for non-profits, as they seek to create a greater impact and generate goodwill among the public. 

Managing perception in the non-profit sector is not a matter of brand ego, or treating NGOs like a for-profit company. It is understanding the changes in the market and adapting accordingly to ensure positive growth. Perception can stem from previous engagements with your NGO, or recommendations from close sources such as family and friends. Having an online presence and knowing who is online helps your NGO pinpoint what is important to those people, and content can then be tailored strategically to elevate your cause in the mind of the public.

NGOs are not exempt from marketing and it is now more important than ever for them to embrace these processes. Small NGOs, especially, can benefit greatly from taking advantage of online tools to develop a better relationship with the public by providing consistent updates of activities outside of fundraising. Consistency keeps you top-of-mind and regular activities assists in moulding the desired perception for your NGO.

How does the public currently perceive your brand? Is it in line with the core values of your NGO? What can you do to mesh both?


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