Marketing expert Austin McGhie expresses that brand is inherent in perception “A brand is present when the value of what a product, service, or personality means to its audience is greater than what it does for the audience.”

Let’s take a moment to explore this statement in the context of NFP organisations. Firstly, what value are we providing our audience with, secondly what does it mean to them and thirdly how is that meaning positioned more significantly than what we do for them.


What does it mean to audience

How is it more significant than what we do?

  • Trust

Mutually beneficial relationship with an authority

Provides a relationship that can be built upon

  • Respect

Pride in being associated with a respected organisation

Associated kudos that they can leverage

  • Integrity


Sets a standard people are proud to align with

  • Compassion

 People-centric approach

They feel humanised, more than numbers and statistics

  • Motivation

Source of encouragement

Can result in career progression

  • Loyalty

Sense of support

Prompts support of others including referrals

  • Security

Knowledge that there is a greater force looking out for them

Increases a sense that their voice matters

This ‘brand perception’ exercise can reveal some foundational brand building blocks and is worth undertaking in a fuller sense, breaking down the exercise further into audience personas. This exercise is worth reviewing on a regular basis to ensure that your brand evolves in step with your audience.


Sometimes the essence of what is important to us as brands can be identified simply by what’s important enough for us to bother measuring. For example, if we consider ourselves to be a people-centric organisation how are we measuring that and do we have a good grasp on employees' happiness or customer/member satisfaction? If this metric doesn’t correlate with our brand values there’s misalignment to address.


We can reinforce the values associated with our brand (or otherwise) through the ‘manifestation’ of our brand, essentially, how our audience experiences our brand. Examples of this include our appearance (logo etc), our communication (what we talk about and the tone in which we do so) and how our team engage and represent the brand (through many various interactions). Where the manifestation and perception aren’t aligned brand confusion can occur and you can lose the audiences ability to identify and connect.


Identifying brand confusion can be as simple as surveying or polling your engaged and/or target audience. This information-gathering exercise can really help to shape and inform brand strategy and guide where adjustments need to be made to align audience expectations and brand manifestations. For example, if your target market is the 18 – 25 demographic and your brand values resonate with more established affluent senior professionals, your appearance is somewhat vintage (and not in a cool way), with equally dated (somewhat neglected) digital interfaces with content that reads more like a thesis than a ‘read this’ then it may be time to consider a refresh to ensure that your brand is something that your target audience can identify and connect with on every level.


Brand consciousness is something that everybody in your organisation needs to carry (that doesn’t mean brand policing colleagues, although it can!). An awareness of who we are, how we speak and what we stand for is critical to the ongoing growth and reputation of our brand, so get creative and get your team on board!

If this article has reinforced your thinking that your brand is in need of some attention and development, please reach out to who will be happy to advise as to potential actions to ensure your organisations brand is properly positioned moving forwards.