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Branding. An overview of recent developments Francis Markus IFRC East Asia Regional Communications Delegate. What do we mean by brand?. It's more than just a visual identity It has both internal and external elements It represents a promise

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An overview of recent developments

Francis Markus IFRC East Asia Regional Communications Delegate

what do we mean by brand
What do we mean by brand?
  • It's more than just a visual identity
  • It has both internal and external elements
  • It represents a promise
  • It also includes people’s emotional and rational responses
why do we need strong brands
Why do we need strong brands?

Brand positioning can contribute to success:

  • Says who we are, what we will do and how we will do it
  • Differentiates us from our competitors
  • Builds credibility, trust and loyalty
  • Enhances fundraising success
  • Helps us help others!
rethinking both inside outside rcrc
Rethinking both inside&outside RCRC
  • New models needed to serve mission and stay true to org values and culture:
  • “IDEA” framework in which“IDEA” stands for
  • brand integrity
  • brand democracy,
  • brand ethics
  • brand affinity

(SSIR/Hauser Center)

branding at a crucial point
Branding at a crucial point?
  • Narrow approach = fundraising tool
  • Wider strategic roles = driving broad, long term social goals; strengthening internal identity, cohesion and capacity (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
why did we embark on the rcrc brands initiative
Why did we embark on the RCRC brands initiative?
  • Address concerns regarding strict rules on use of the emblem and impact on fundraising
  • Need to manage RCRC brands coherently
  • Seek to ensure a clear distinction between emblem, logo and brands so as not to undermine the protection function of the emblems
situation analysis rcrc brands workshop december 2010
Situation analysis -- RCRC brands workshop December 2010
  • Strengths:
    • High awareness; recognition of Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems
    • Heritage and history = credibility
    • Strong at local, national and international levels
    • Humanitarian
    • Impartiality, neutrality and independence
  • Weaknesses:
    • Ageing, conservative image
    • High expectations
    • Limited understanding of role
    • Perceived lack of transparency
    • Lack of unified voice/unified global image
situation analysis rcrc brands workshop continued
Situation analysis – RCRC brands workshop continued
  • Opportunities:
    • Better co-ordination between NS
    • Leverage global voice, common verbal identity
    • Social media as a global channel
  • Challenges:
    • Competition from strong NGO brands
    • Declining public trust in NGO's and aid
    • Confusion amongst stakeholders
    • Lack of respect for emblem/misuse
    • Transparency and accountability
    • Achieving brand coherence
    • Strong association international & emergency overshadows domestic


Overview of the International Branding Initiative

Education and capacity building

Consistent representation and presentation of the Movement

Effective management of our position and reputation across national borders

  • Develop a common understanding of branding, adopt a universal positioning for the Movement.
  • And manage reputation.

Improve consistency in the way the different component parts of the Movement present themselves both visually and in writing.

Resources for an internaleducation programmeand capacity building tools for NS to better manage their brands.



Work stream deliverables



tools and protocols

Highlighting commercial use of the emblem issues and collaborating with the Federation wide resource mobilisation team




crisis management


Contributing brand thinking to the international youth strategy

Global and local

education and capacity building programme


Digital guidance



Products developed to date cont’d

Market research

We conducted a study across 21 countries about awareness, knowledgeand perceptionof the different brand identities within the Movement:


Emblems association

Awareness and Knowledge

  • Red Cross 93%, ICRC 78%, Red Crescent 78%, IFRC 73%
  • 84% know RC/RC work in their country and 79% know also in other countries
  • 41%know that Red Crescent and Red Cross are part of the same Movement.

Humanitarian 84%, provides hope 77%, trustworthy 76%, caring 75%

Neutral 64%, accountable 63%, independent 62% transparent 59%

Bureaucratic 29%, old fashioned 28%, religious 26%, political 24%

First Aid 83%, doctors/medical facilities 76%, disasters 78%

Health and social care 70%, disaster preparedness 65%, aid in conflict 63%

41%United Nations, 34%part of the government, 28%armed forces

rcrc brands survey first step to build strong brand identities
RCRC brands survey – First step to build strong brand identities

Survey objectives:

Identify common branding/reputation challenges

Identify potential for shared learning and collaboration

Identify potential solutions that have been implemented by NS

1 - Developing a common understanding and commitment to trans-national branding and positioning issues

Reviewing what branding means for different parts of the Movement and proposing a common working definition.

Managing an international opinion survey to establish the commonalities across our different identities.

And the drafting of a common branding positioning statement.

2 leveraging the power of our collective brand identities to remain competitive
2 – Leveraging the power of our collective brand identities to remain competitive

This group will explore how we leverage the different RCRC brand identities with respect to other humanitarian actors

It will also explore how the humanitarian world is changing and becoming increasingly competitive which presents trans-national challenges

And the potential for working better to manage trans-national identity issues.

3 managing our different brand identities in an interconnected digital world
3 – Managing our different brand identities in an interconnected digital world

This group will explore the potential and challenges of social media

It will also explore the challenges and potential for effective use of digital media by the different brand identities in trans-national campaigns initiated by the ICRC, IFRC and trans-national partners.

It will also look at online reputation crisis management.

It will finally consider trademark and identity issues related to the online use of the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems or names.

4 the role of media relations in managing our position trans nationally
4 – The role of media relations in managing our position trans-nationally

This workstream will explore how we can manage trans-national reputational issues and positioning challenges.

It will particularly address potential negative spill over from one national context to another.

5 use of the emblem in commercial and resource mobilisation contexts
5 – Use of the emblem in commercial and resource mobilisation contexts

This group will look at how we leverage the collective power of our different brand identities trans-nationally and nationally

While ensuring proper use of the emblem in commercial and resource mobilisation contexts.

The development of a user friendly document on the proper use of the emblem, clearly outlining what is permissible in a commercial and resource mobilisation context.

6 engaging youth audiences
6 – Engaging youth audiences

This workstream will explore how we position our different brand identities separately and collectively to effectively engage the next generation.

It will explore perceptions and positioning challenges and review case studies and best practice of where these have been effectively overcome with a view to sharing learning.

7 capacity building in brand development for national societies
7 – Capacity building in Brand development for National Societies

This group will look specifically at strengthening the power of the individual National Society’s brand identity in country.

It will look at case studies, mentoring, sharing and capacity building options to support within country and within region or zone.

It will link closely with FedNet and the proposed community of practice there.



Next steps

  • Draft products developed by Technical Group circulated within IFRC, ICRC and BRC for consultation.
  • Draft products incorporating consultation or together with results of consultation presented to the Reference Group meeting in April.
  • CoD resolution is drafted by IFRC / ICRC in consultation with relevant internal departments and leadership.
  • Endorsed products and draft resolution to be presented to the IFRC governing board / ICRC governance prior to the CoD for approval / discussion.
  • Resolution goes before CoD, NS toolkit released and marketed within the Movement.
next steps endorsed by reference group
Next steps endorsed by Reference Group
  • Plenary statement of intent at Council of Delegates November 2011
  • Branding resource pack
  • Research on (external) gap and relevance
  • Agree on branding commonalities using analysis and research
  • Council of Delegates 2013 - RCRC brands resolution and implementation plan of action