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BRANDING INSTITUTIONS: your brand identity “ABC”




As an institution or a NGO, is there any way to build on your community or simply strengthen the members loyalty? Is there a possibility of achieving your fundraising expectations? The answer could really be “branding”.

Nowadays, institutions are implementing marketing and branding activities, in the same way of corporations. It could be a city, a school, a public institution or even non-for-profit organisations or associations.


Cities and place branding – an immediate example of the true potential of branding!


City branding is maybe one of the key example in institutional brand practices. It is the process of attracting consumers (i.e. tourists) and customers (i.e. companies) to a city, building a strong brand identity. The starting point is to conceive the institution (the city in this particular case) as a mix of products and services. Branding creates distinctiveness, which can be used both by tourists and companies, in order to decide whether to visit it or set up a business. For example, this is the tool that makes London to be the very first choice for moving, even if the level of welfare is low. At the same time, London is the very first city that comes in your mind when you hear the words British, England or the UK – you are not immediately thinking about Liverpool, Manchester or Bath! Another example is Bologna (as in the photo), a beautiful Italian city that has nothing less than Rome and Florence. It is not even on the top ten Italian destinations, because of a strong lack of branding.


The hidden power of branding


The observations about city branding are the same if talking about schools, governments, NGOs and any other association. Now, to fully disclose the hidden power of institutional branding, there are some fundamental steps to implement. Given our expertise in institutional branding, here you are the “ABC” steps to develop your brand!

A. Identity concept – firstly, you must articulate a clear mission, taking into account all values, aims and uniqueness that move your institution or association actions and activities. You need to be short, essential and very communicative! B. Identity plan – you should develop a clear framework for your communication standards, mainly in the form of procedures and guidelines. This creates the identity plan for organising any of your identity expressions: you identify your public, your voice, your tone, how you want to be perceived and the main reference points within your communication practice. C. Identity communication – finally, you have to visualise your message, creating the right packaging to present your institution to the public. This means not only playing with words (content development and messaging) or with visuals (logos, designs, videos), but also thinking about the right channels to communicate it. It could be, for instance, a blog, social medias, newspapers or via all inbound marketing tools.

Here at double-id, we are always very intrigued by institutional branding challenges, such as establishing the brand, creating visuals for particular occasions or even developing members acquisition or fundraising programs.

Well, do you have any particular ideas in mind for your institution or association? Do you have any doubts about something? Challenge us or simply share your thoughts.

by Chiara Lamacchia

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