How to determine your brand's key drivers for success

A strong charity brand can do wonders to your cause. However, different charities working within the same field are perceived differently by the general public.

Beyond just a logo that everyone remembers, a strong charity brand can do wonders for your cause. It can provide your volunteers with direction and motivation, lower the barriers for your beneficiaries, inspire your current supporters to become your future ambassadors and make acquiring new donors much easier. A charity brand represents the grand total of the perceptions of your employees, volunteers, beneficiaries, donors and potential supporters about your organisation, all at the same time. So, it is really ‘everything’!

Our Brand Attributes research looks into the general public’s perceptions of and emotions towards specific charity brands twice a year. We have carried out ‘driver analysis’ (a statistical analysis technique) based on the latest results from November 2017, in order to explore the impact of what attributes a respondent associates with a brand on that respondent’s brand preference. Here is what we found:

For charities in general, the results were clear: when someone sees a charity as trustworthy, inspiring and passionate, they are more likely to prefer that brand. However, these drivers also vary a little from charity to charity, and by demographics.

Interestingly, according to the general public, the profile of an ideal charity is different from the profiles of the charities they prefer.  When we asked the public to describe their ‘ideal charity’ by selecting attributes from our prompted list their top 5 included: trustworthy, honest, caring/compassionate, supportive and passionate.

However, when we looked at the drivers that make people prefer a charity brand, adjectives were much more dynamic: trustworthy, passionate, inspiring, caring/compassionate and sympathetic.

So, the most preferred brands don’t tend to have all the attributes of an ‘ideal’ charity.

Preferred ideal charity results show variance across different demographics. For instance, the ideal charity for those from AB social grades includes the word ‘positive’ whereas for DE social grades this attribute is replaced by ‘friendly/welcoming’. Being perceived as ‘innovative’ as a charity brand is less of a driver for success when it comes to C1s, whereas ‘helpful’ is more important for DEs compared to other social grades.

Looking from the gender perspective, women prefer charities that they describe as ‘caring/compassionate’ more than men, while men are put off by charities that they see as ‘greedy/rich’ and ‘boring’ more than women are.

Age differences also matter when it comes to people’s preferred charities. For instance, the youngest age group, 18-24s, prefer charities that are seen as more ‘outspoken’ and less ‘professional’ compared to other age groups. While for 23-34s being seen as ‘caring’, ‘approachable’ and ‘sympathetic’ is not as preferable as it is for other age groups. For 35-44s being seen as ‘helpful’ and ‘generous’ are not major drivers for preferring a charity brand, while being seen as ‘boring’ is more of a deal-breaker than it is for other age groups. The oldest age groups prefer charities that they think are ‘professional’ and ‘supportive’ while charities that they think of as ‘outspoken’ are less preferred by 65+s.

Through Brand Attributes research we are able to track changes in individual brands’ key drivers of success. For instance, our research has shown that Girlguiding now have ‘empowering’ and ‘visionary’ as their key brand drivers, and these are areas they have been focusing on as part of their brand work.

If you want to find out how your organisation is measuring up to market ideals and sector norms and discover what drives success for your brand, Brand Attributes may provide you with the insights you need to develop your brand messages. Download our Brand Attributes briefing pack below to see this research in details.

Secil Muderrisoglu

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