We have sought the advice of David Desmarais, philanthropic consultant at BNP Philanthropic Performance on the importance of brand image. David has always been passionate about communications and marketing, and completed a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. This paved the way for a career in communications for several years. His penchant for brand image development and strategy has made him an expert in the field.

Brand image

What is a brand image?

Branding or brand image pertains to the public’s perception of an organization. Brand image includes your organization’s visual identity, such as its logo, colours, tone and the values you project. It also includes all of the interactions the public can have with your organization. David stresses that visual identity is something different. It is solely based on the visual and aesthetic aspect of your organization, while brand image corresponds to how the public perceives your organization overall.

So why create a brand image or rebrand?

There are several reasons:

  • To maintain your market edge
  • To boost your notoriety
  • To promote your services among users
  • To win the loyalty of your audience and donors
  • To recruit new talent
  • To generate donations and sponsorships

As you can see, philanthropic organizations have good reasons to devote their time to developing their brand image. This is particularly true at a time when design is occupying a greater and greater place in consumer decisions. By adopting a brand image strategy, you can:

  • Gain the loyalty of your stakeholders
  • Improve your reputation
  • Help keep your users and people who are more vulnerable informed
  • Make yourself known
  • Increase donations and sponsorships

How and where to get started?

To begin with, the decision to rebrand must be rooted in a strategic plan, because it will shake up your organization. That’s why the board of directors must give it the green light, but with a clear picture of the challenges that come with rebranding.

You must also ask yourself some key questions and research the industry, the network and the sector you’re in. Figure out what you like and don’t like so that you can give clear guidelines to your consultant or the agency that’s going to take on the rebranding. The most important thing is to stay true to your values and principles. It’s much easier for an organization to disseminate its new image and broaden its reach when it’s consistent with the direction the organization wants to take.

To maintain this consistency, it’s essential to document your brand image.

This means:

  • Having a graphic charter and knowing how to use it: logos, typography, colours, variants, etc
  • Documenting the tone, graphic contexts, the way your posts appear on social media, and how to create your messages
  • Having a long-term relationship with an external consultant or agency

Rebranding is a big investment, which is why it’s so important to take the time to think it through.

David’s 8 tips for improving your brand image

  1. Organizations must think about their brand image in terms of their strategic planning.
  2. It’s important to set a timeframe for creating a new brand image. It can take from six months to a year.
  3. The organization must define its brand image strategy in accordance with its mission and values, as well as the messages intended for each of its targets.
  4. The organization must decide if it wants to call on a consultant or agency, depending on the specialized resources available within the organization, but also the budget it has for this project.
  5. While working in collaboration with a consultant or agency, it is important for the organization to make constructive comments that are not solely based on a question of taste. Have the team that is involved move forward efficiently in creating the new brand image.
  6. The organization will be able to implement its new image over several weeks so that it can then assess the benefits based on performance indicators. These indicators can be determined through social media, the opinions of users and partners, or the newsletter opening rate. Website traffic is another good indicator.
  7. The organization will have to maintain a certain consistency for all of its communication tools. This is achieved with documentation as well as the graphic charter that was deployed when the new brand image was adopted. But also, by referring to the variants, which will help a new resource joining the communications department. Or to support the person who needs to manage this autonomously thereafter.
  8. If you have questions about how to implement a new brand image, the first thing you need to do is talk to a professional. You can make an initial appointment, which is often free, to learn more about what your brand imaging project will entail.

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