Its probably an outdated question given that nobody even has a bank manager these days (and banks aren't handling out loans that easily either)! However, the relevance of the question refers to a conundrum facing a client of ours recently. They are a small, ambitious, driven and extremely needy charity. Through a timely set of circumstances, we offered our services pro bono to develop their identity and presence. This was largely in response to the usual charity objectives: to increase membership, sponsorship and awareness in a very busy and competitive market.
In much of our other work with a diverse range of corporate and FMCG clients, we help develop brands with similar objectives in mind. However, never in my experience with these clients have I heard concern in the form of the question I was asked by the charity's CEO:
"Now we look so great, will we be perceived as less needy and therefore not achieve our objectives?"
Slightly taken aback - after month of hard work to get to this point - I thought that maybe he was right. After all he is the CEO of the charity and has a lot more experience in the industry than we could ever claim. Had we overlooked a fundamental aspect of the challenge of working with a charity?
But, after some thought, I decided that we were absolutely right in our approach. Charity or not, there can only be a positive outcome from a brand being assured of its place in the market. Possession of a clear set of values, a distinctive personality and a unique and relevant position can only be a positive. And presenting this in a consistent manner across all touchpoints with consumers can surely only build awareness?
Anyone investing money or time in an organisation - charitable or not - could only be reassured by the fact that these resources aren't being wasted on inconsistent sales material, recreating the wheel every time a quarterly newsletter has to be sent out.
Creating a brand model, templates and guidelines that offer consistency yet allow flexibility for creative interpretation is the key - every time. After all, why do businessmen wear suits to meetings, and why did women wear short skirts to visit the bank manager (in the old days)? Because it was the template for success.
So, having been reassured of all this, was our charity client rewarded with a positive result? Launched at the 2010 Farnborough Air Show, it's too early for quantitative results, but the new identity has brought fresh energy to the team of volunteers running the charity, a consistent look and feel across web, print and all other media, and an increased drive to get out there and spread the word. Their Air Show stand was one of the most-visited, and the team are still following up on all the leads received, a much greater percentage of which seem to be leading somewhere than in previous years.
However, I can't say it's all down to the fresh look, after all the CEO was wearing a suit and that must have said something for them too.