Thursday, September 30, 2010
the "branding" issue
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!