Strong NFP branding begins with strong beliefs


The success of any NFP hinges on the power of the belief it generates through its brand.
The discipline of branding is not only invested in sustaining beliefs, but sometimes refining, stretching and defining beliefs to align more closely with changing attitudes and circumstances.
For NFPs considering their brand or positioning, re-defining your beliefs can be the first step towards positive change – not just in the way audiences perceive you, but also in how the organisation operates.
Beliefs give your brand drive.
Beliefs are incredibly powerful drivers. They are tied to human aspirations, our ideals about right and wrong, and the assurances we set for ourselves. These driving beliefs are so strong that they direct our sense of trust, evoke raw emotions and even activate our fight or flight responses in an instant.
As we mature, our tendency is to harden our minds to new ideas and information that do not align to our long-held beliefs. This makes the business of changing people’s beliefs incredibly complex, but not impossible.
Understanding what drives your supporters’ beliefs is key to unlocking the awareness, behaviours and actions you want to see in your world. Similarly, when beliefs are evoked in the way brands express themselves to the market, powerful things emerge.
Beliefs give your brand purpose.
At Landor, we like to start our branding projects by diving deep into your brand’s core beliefs to surface your values and vision for the future.
By distilling brand values further, we extract a brand purpose – the summation of your beliefs and your single reason for being. This brand purpose is a useful definition; with it, you can convincingly answer the question, “why does your brand exist?” or “how is the world a better place with your brand in it”?
In a competitive environment, a clearly articulated brand purpose can not only help to strengthen your fundraising and community outreach efforts, it can also give you a lens from which to make decisions about the projects you support, the investment opportunities you undertake and the ways in which you seek to engage your audiences. 
Beliefs can set your brand apart.
Two guiding beliefs were central to our re-positioning work for Vision Australia. Firstly, they believed in placing the customer at the centre of everything they do. Secondly, they believed in supporting and enabling their client to “live the life they choose”.
The interlocking links of the new Vision Australia logo represent the client at the centre connected by donors, supporters and staff. The brand was designed for people with low-vision, so an accessible-first approach was taken to inform our font choices, colours and brand imagery.
The word “opportunity” was also added to the brand’s descriptor – an insight identified in interviews supporters, clients and their family members that eloquently reinforced our guiding beliefs about the Vision Australia service.
Before the NDIS, Vision Australia had never been in a position where it had to compete for clients. The re-brand offered them an opportunity to tell a different story that resonated with all of their communities resulting in new interest.
Beliefs keep your brand honest and true.
Brands with strong supporters don’t just tell people where they’ve been and what they do, they tell a compelling story that’s worth following. The best way to achieve this is to stay true to who you are. That begins with definitive beliefs.
If your brand definitions are honest and true, then the way your brand comes to life should follow easily and naturally. Equipped with a clear brand purpose, your community of supporters and clients are better able to make decisions and advocate for you without a great deal of guidance.
When done well, branding will not only replenish and activate your supporter base, it will also positively impact your organisation from the inside out, all the way through to the community at large. For NFPs, a strong brand, built on solid belief can only lead to a more sustainable practice.
Tony Lee, strategy director at Landor Melbourne.