Strategies for Nonprofit Branding with Hayes Roth (CMO of Landor)

December 11, 2009

Hayes Roth, Chief Marketing Officer of Landor, sat down in our offices to discuss an issue that is dear to him–helping nonprofits become powerful brands.

Hayes states in the interview that the core branding needs for nonprofits are no different that the needs of for-profit organizations:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Understanding your point of difference
  • Finding a message that is true to your organization
  • Making sure that message is infused throughout the organization
  • Building a promise around that message and supporting it over time

But, Hayes notes that nonprofits are often challenged by a lack of funds to promote the brand, and some aren’t comfortable adopting what they may view as a more corporate planning mentality. And possibly the biggest challenge is the diffuse leadership roles within nonprofit organizations. As Hayes put it,

Good branding is a collaborative process, but not a democratic one. In a great organization where you see great brands, you have strong leaders [and]… the decisions finally rest on the CEO.

For those nonprofits that are willing to invest time and money into brand building and are not afraid to commit to organizational changes when necessary, there can be great rewards. Hayes gives examples of strong nonprofit brands like the United Negro College Fund, United Way and the Red Cross that have built strong reputations and awareness and thus have a much greater chance for success when they offer partnership opportunities or ask for assistance.

You may also be interested in a white paper from Hayes on “Nonprofits in jeopardy: Can better branding help?


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