Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Should Charities Consider Brand Extensions to Help Boost Revenue?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Should Charities Consider Brand Extensions to Help Boost Revenue?

Article excerpt

Children in Need has added a second brand mascot, Blush Bear, to sit alongside Pudsey Bear, begging the question as to whether other charities could benefit by following suit.

MAYBE - Lynda Thomas, Director of external affairs, Macmillan Cancer Support

Anything that helps a charity raise money must be a good thing, and there's no doubt that brand extensions can play a big part in this. They are particularly successful when truly integrated with the charity's brand, and symbolic of the cause. This is why Pudsey Bear works for Children in Need.

Like most charities, we have a range of licensed products, which we use to generate income. However, we probably wouldn't ever consider going as far as adopting a mascot. With an icon that personifies our core values as accurately and emotively as the Macmillan Nurse, it would be a brave, and potentially foolish, person who made that move.

Charities, particularly those with a strong services brand, need to weigh up the fundraising opportunities that brand extensions bring against the risk of introducing products that detract from the understanding and clarity of what they offer.

MAYBE - Guy North, Executive director of marketing, Victim Support

Charities should consider brand extensions only if their core brand already enjoys a high level of public awareness and understanding. This is likely to be the result of sustained marketing activity over a long period of time, so that the target audience is familiar with what the charity is raising money for.

Without this, launching a brand extension for a charity could risk diluting its core message and confusing audiences about its real purpose - which, in turn, could lead those audiences to donate their money elsewhere.

Children in Need is in the enviable position of enjoying such a high level of public awareness and understanding that considering brand extensions would make sense. In contrast, at Victim Support, our priority is to build the profile of the core brand so that our target audiences understand who we are and what we do.

Not until we reap the rewards from this strategy could we even begin to consider brand extensions.

MAYBE - Phil Thomas, Managing director, The Gate

Children in Need is very different from most charities. …

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