Monday, 6 January 2014

Why Brand is important for Social Enterprises

Social enterprises typically aim to help or aid some aspect of global or personal well-being – rather than focusing on earning the all mighty dollar (or Euro. Or pound) for commercial purposes. That said, brand is important for every organisation – it is, afterward, the identity of that organisation... yet it is particularly important for the social enterprise.

Why, you ask?

Think about it – at the heart of it, social enterprises tend to aim for a, well, heart-worthy cause. Whether it is a passion for eco-friendly, green living to save our planet and keep the air clean. Protecting animals from puppy mills, abuse, or other sub-standard living situations. Feeding children in developing nations. The list goes on, but they all have one thing in common: A worthy cause that requires an investment from every day people in order to succeed. Which begs the question… what motivates people to take action?

Many social enterprises have received traction after celebrity stunts, viral videos, or other attention-grabbing devices. This isn’t to say that every video you produce or that every disruptive activity you launch is going to catch on like wildfire – but the good, original ones take off like wildfire and contribute to the social enterprise’s brand.

The brand defines any organisation – it determines how the public views that enterprise. From warm fuzzies to funky, energetic, and daring, it sets the tone and the way that people feel about your enterprise when they see it.

Brand is more than a logo or a tagline (though those are also very important). Brand is the unspoken feeling or perception. Every company has one – the trick is to define it before it defines you.

For social enterprises, this is particularly important because the brand and the image needs to tie directly back into their purpose. Given the consistent fundraising efforts, your brand often reaches your consumer before you do, speaking for you when you may not get a chance to. Developing a brand allows you to differentiate yourself – not only in your outbound activities, but often times in the conversations with the consumer that you do not get to actively initiate or participate in.

For social enterprises in particular, the brand speaks for the organisation itself. It announces its purpose to the world. It promotes the cause beyond their enterprise name to gain recognition and attention. The brand of a social enterprise carries perhaps more weight than the brand of any other type of organisation due to the implications and associations that come with it along with everything the organisation itself stands for.

That said, while the brand strategy must be unique for each organisation, here are some do’s and don’ts that social enterprises in particular should consider:
  • Do make your organisation’s focus clear through the logo, tagline, and beyond.
  • Don’t be afraid to try unique, out-of-the-box ideas – big ideas can bring big results.
  • If you decide to affiliate your organisation with a celebrity or other public person, DO thoroughly research them to qualify their current affiliations along with past transgressions to ensure that they are a proper and appropriate fit for your brand.
  • Do make sure your activities tie back to your social enterprise’s mission.
  • Do have fun with it.

Talk to us

If you'd like to chat to Mike Owen about how Violet Bick can help your business with brand please call us on 0191 27 666 27 or email

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