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Thursday, September 30, 2010

the "branding" issue

by Cobus:
Archaeologists suggest that branding dates back 5000 years! There is evidence that in 3000 BC the Babylonians were already branding certain products. The branding of cattle and livestock dates back 2000 BC and as far back as 1300 BC, potter’s marks were used on pottery and porcelain in China, Greece, Rome and India.

Today business is branding! The mere mention of brand names like Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple brings to mind images, experiences and emotions connected to these brands. We either buy, or do not buy based on branding. But how do you use the same brand to reach two completely different markets, achieving two completely different outcomes?

One of LifeXchange’s successes is the way we market ourselves in high risk areas. We are not known as a rehabilitation centre, a program for troubled kids, or a youth-at-risk intervention organization, but rather as an extreme sport and adventure organization selecting young people with huge potential. Our brand is non-threatening to gangsters, drug addicts and the uneducated, and has a reputation as the organisation to be in. In the public sphere however we market ourselves as a youth-at-risk intervention organization working with some of the world’s most broken and lost young people. This is the reality of what we do and whom we target in order to achieve our goal; making a broken young person whole again.

Our problem: Selling the same brand to two different groups of people does not seem sustainable. Whenever there is an article in a newspaper or magazine about our intervention approach and the words ‘youth-at-risk’ occur we pray that none of our young people will read it. Yet, we want to be known to the public as an organisation that is specialising in high-risk youth intervention, leaders in our field, excellent in what we do, trustworthy and sustainable. But, in the communities we work with we want to be known as an adventure organization that recruits young people with talent and helps them turn their life stories into success stories.

So how would you do it? This is a request to please give us your advice, guidance and opinion our double-edged problem. Looking forward to hearing your touch of brilliance on this topic!


Timo Lehmann said...

Cobus and Mandy,

Yes, this is a tough one! What you need is one brand, with certain connotations, terminology, (slogan) etc that go with it, that is not only suitable but also appeals to all of your 'audiences'.

It might be worth brainstorming about: what others see as 'youth at risk", we see as XXX.
At the end of the day, youth-at-risk will appeal to be many would-be sponsors etc, so it's not necessarily something you want to shy away from. Maybe you'd be able to apply your own meaning to it, showing that it is so much more than that (to you) ... and that's about empowerment, equipping, mentoring, etc.

Just like you are taking sport and ordinary camps to the next level (extreme sport and adventure camps), you want to use these to take people (youth-at-risk) to the next level ...

I think a massive part of this will also be walking everyone involved in your programme through what you mean by certain terms (such as youth-at-risk), so they understand where you are coming from and so that they associate something positive with the term (which generally has a negative conversation).

Whatever terminology you end up using, you need to make it work for you, which can be done when everyone involved knows what you mean, think and feel (i.e. where your heart is) by certain words, actions etc ...

NiC said...

So a thought on a similar note is.... In S.A we have a huge orphan problem and many "orphanages" are there to combat this problem.... But that's obviously not where the problems end in orphan care. Cause once the new modelled children’s home take in an orphan and give them house parents and the best care that they can, as if the orphan were there own child. Is that child really still an orphan? We no, because and orphan does not have parents. Now this child does have parents and has parents who care and provide. In raising these particular children they then are taught by their house parents that they are not and orphan but are in fact part of a family and have a home. BUT as an organisation every doctor, donor, visitor still calls them orphans to their faces and therefore reinforces the facts which have been unlearnt.

Similar predicament it seems.

I think people like stereotyping the rich, strong, “cared for” and powerful people are the very ones who make the categories that we all slot people into. The same categories they never seem to find themselves in, and never have to deal with the people who face the challenges or breaking down the walls of the boxes we never created nor wanted....

Anonymous said...

This is a reply to your message about life exchange's double image.

Could the two images not be merged, and instead of being seen as an extreme sport and adventure organization selecting young people with huge potential to the youth, and as a youth-at-risk program to the public, could it not be advertised to everyone as an extreme sport and adventure organization that selects at-risk-young people with huge potential who dont have the financial etc support that other people with huge potential have?? This still shows that they are specially chosen because they have the potential.

Ashlee Hurwitz

Anonymous said...

Hi Mandy. You guys are doing the right thing here and a little tweaking is all that is necessary. One of the basic principles of marketing success is to focus on real benefits, which you already do. Keep it positive. Will chat @ church I have some ideas. Gustav Zwiegelaar