If I say Apple, Colgate, CNN, Coca-Cola, Canon, Volkswagen, people are immediately aware of what it is, where it is from and their degree of “attachment” to the brand or product. But the awareness around these brands has been nurtured, created, developed, and maintained by the companies’ brand strategists. Often with billions of pounds. Though we might not have the budgets in the charity sector, some of the learnings are useful and applied consistently, can be very effective.
Last century, the aim was to build and to develop a strong brand with the public through advertising. Nowadays, with the Internet and ever-tough competition all over the place, organisations need to build their brand’s reputation on and offline, and be as creative as ever to generate maximum interaction.
How do you develop an on and offline strategy that works? Should we talk about the word ‘brand’ for charities, which has only just stopped being a ‘dirty word’? How do we build strong engagement around your brand?
Here are a few examples of brands that have successfully managed both their on and offline strategy over the last few years. No doubt there will be a few surprises with our selection.
Established in 1872, Adnams, as a “basic” retailer and pub owner, started to build life around its brands by relating its products to its mission and vision.
Adnams created a community around each of its brand. In 1990, it first built the Adnams’ charity to help people living within 25 miles from Southworld. Then it created a history around each branded beer.
And finally, they are helping protect the environment and sealife by supporting the Marine Conservation Society with the launch of the Fat Sprat beer and by using “green” distillery production. For example, they work with local farmers and producers; they use aneoribic digestion units, green roofs and bore holes to chill their brewery and the first carbon neutral bottled beer was made from hops grown locally at East Green.
The company maintains interest with its audience of the histories and builds real engagement and experience through brewery visits, events for the community and regular tweets. In 20 years they have built a strong offline reputation. Recently, they have started to develop this online reputation by refreshing their retail website, finely tuned to its audience needs, inviting them to participate in events, to comment, to interact on social channels and to built the story of their brand together.
Adnams expanded their activity, opening their Adnams Cellar & Kitchen shops to attract a new segment of women. “We were keen to appeal to the 50 per cent of the population we weren’t talking to – females.” says Andy Wood, Adnams chief executive and, in 2012, they won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development.
To what end – increased sales, visits, awareness? We’ll look at this when we meet.
Created in the 90’s when there was no one organisation devoted to protecting invertebrates, Buglife became the first to do so in Europe.
Over the past 20 years, 1,000 active members have joined Buglife. In 2012, a strategy and business review, helped by the Tubney Foundation funding, identified opportunities to increase their membership to 10,000 in the next five years by growing awareness through the brand and establishing new partnerships.
Buglife worked on all aspects (a more contemporary logo , website, social channels, employee engagement etc.) of their brand “personality”, to create a stronger and more powerful “environmental charity”. Green Banana Marketing has been assisting Buglife in defining their priorities, brand image, audiences and digital assets including ‘developing a new’ website.
For their various audiences, offline, Buglife organise different events (including be-lines), children packs for schools to awareness of invertebrate causes through their campaigns like Neonics. Online GBM have worked hard to build an entirely new website, keeping their audience up-to-date and involved. The aim being to increase participation with main groups (media, public, policy makers and partners) and to help them understand and interact with the main issues, and supporting the ambition of being the “one stop shop” for Bugs.
These recent change gave Buglife the opportunity to review its mission and image, and to create even more real interaction with its audiences.
The online part of this project will be launched towards the end of July – so we will be able to give a progress report at our next shortcut on 26th of July.
For more information, or to book your place – View event invite now!
What a truly miserable summer we are having. The persistence and sheer volume of rain that has continued to batter the UK throughout our summer has left us all moaning and groaning, in true British style. However, before we choose to grumble about being unable to go to the beach or go for a walk in the park, we should take a bit of time to identify the real victims of the weather. With the accursed Jet Stream set to soon move north, resulting in better weather, we should start looking at how we can help the victims.
Flood Victims: The rains have led to widespread floods all over the UK, causing serious damage to people’s personal and commercial property. The expected bill is set to be around £450 million of flood damage. While the insurance companies have pledged to help the victims, it could be up to a year until they receive these payments. National Flood Forum is a charity set up by flood victims to provide help and information for flood victims, so if you wish to help out the victims of the floods, you can donate to them online.
British Wildlife: The torrid conditions have led to an ‘almost apocalyptic summer’ for some UK wildlife, according to the National Trust. The most seriously affected are sea and garden birds. The sea birds have been drowning in their burrows, whilst garden birds are unable to find food to feed their young. In order to help the birds, start setting up bird boxes in your gardens, to help provide safe shelter for them, whilst also putting up bird feeders to provide easy access to food. If you are feeling particularly generous, donating to the RSPB would be beneficial. Another species seriously affected are bees:
Bees: It’s been a bad year for bees. Over the winter, bee populations fell by 16.2% (according to the British Bee-keepers Association), and now the continuous heavy rain and cold temperatures has led to a further decline. Bees form an essential part of our economy, with bee pollination driving the agricultural industry. This most recent decline has led to an expected decrease in apple harvest of 50%, which directly results in massive profit losses for the UK apple market (which is worth £320m annually according to The Sunday Times). In order to help the bee populations to grow, garden owners should start planting bee friendly plants. Also start buying local honey to support your local beekeepers or become a ‘Bee Guardian’.
Business: The weather is having a derogatory effect on multiple UK businesses, below are a few examples:
- Tourism – why would anyone choose to visit a country that suffers from torrential rain for their summer holidays? For example, Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang has left the London weather to prepare for the Olympics in a much warmer country – Germany.
- Farming – as mentioned above due to the decline in bee populations.
- Summer retail sector – ranging from summer clothes, tents to gardening equipment.
So In order to help the farming and retail industry recover, we recommend you start buying locally. Buy UK produced food and clothes, as not only will this help the UK economy, it will also reduce carbon emissions.
So with the weather due to perk up, we wish you all a great summer, but please, take our advice and help out the real victims of the bad weather.
NEC’s Sustainability Live event was an experience. Imagine an event that combines The Royal Tournament (soldiers racing to assemble canons) and Tomorrow’s World. Some were bemused as to what this meant for their enterprise. We think many already understand that our resources are dwindling and that renewable techs are good for the economy. Green Banana heard the old argument ‘without better government guidance, the green economy is doomed’, so we decided to produce our very own six point PLANET manifesto which would be ideal for enterprises to consider:
Preserve the future
Start by promising to support only FSC products and cut-back felling of the lungs of this world (which are responsible for picking up roughly a third of the carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels). Then consider how much biodiversity supports us, for instance bees don’t only make honey – they support over 50% of agricultural pollination.
Local is best
Why not use council tax rebates to reward whole parishes for meeting recycling targets and individual householders for insulating their homes. After all 40% of emissions are through wall and roof cavities, so worth rewarding people with 20% off their council tax.
The big society starts locally – so let local communities profit from micro generation. And why not reset solar and wind tariffs and communicate the benefits to the wider communities?
Allow everyone to join an eco lab – employing our brightest unemployed young adults to generate ideas to address the sustainable crisis and give the winning inventors a 25% share.
Embracing new technology is where new ways of living start, so encourage green electricity by giving SMEs 50% reduction on electric vehicles to be second phase ambassadors and plough money into creating high speed data connections for wireless meetings. Say no to expensive old technology – do we really need HS2 (costing £34 Billion) when we can meet virtually?
Adopt a few rules for eating. Eat low on the food chain; eat tilapia – the world’s most sustainable fish. Fish and chip shops will soon get the message and other fish will fry.
Have walk to work months, with new lanes set up temporarily for ‘walking buses’. Drive investment in new electric local transport, cycle lanes and walk to work schemes.
These are some of the ideas we are discussing with enterprises. We would be interested in your thoughts. We help evolve products and services to become smarter, greener and fairer. If you are asking how your company can be the more environmentally responsible, contact Giles@greenbananamarketing.com. We have worked with a range of socially responsible brands like Fairtrade and understand that achieving high ethical and sustainable standards is a journey. Ask us how. Giles Robertson is the founder of Green Banana Marketing Ltd and Chairman of the Marketing Society Charity Group.