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Charity Rebranding – what's in a name?

30 October 2013 Jim Harrison,

Our CEO, Richard Sunderland was featured in the Third Sector magazine this week giving his views on the rebranding of charities.

The article, written by Andy Hillier, analyses the difference a name makes, looking at why charities change their names and the pitfalls of bad naming choices.

Branding has become increasingly important for charities in recent years, with the name being a centre point of this. The decision to change a charity's name can be fraught with danger, the wrong one can cost a charity dearly, whilst selecting the right one can help raise the profile, distinguish from competitors and improve their ability to fund-raise.

According to branding specialists names fall into 3 categories. Abstract, implicit and explicit. Many charities favour explicit names explaining what they do, but there has been a trend towards obscure or abstract names. The article goes on to give expert opinions on ten of the more prominent charity rebrands of recent years from rebranding RNID (Royal National Institue for Deaf People) to Action on Hearing Loss to arguably one of the worst charity rebrands, Changing young women’s charity YWCA's name twice in three years !

Our CEO Richard suggests: "if you have an abstract name, you have to spend more money explaining what you do - and charities often don't have the budget for this.

In a sector where so many organisations are vying for people's attention. The fundamental principle should be to choose a name that helps you stand out. Be bold but not too abstract"

The article is available in print edition and online at Third Sector

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