Keys to NPO Brand Equity (Value)

Brand equity is “the added value endowed to products and services, reflected in how consumers think, feel, and act with respect to the brand, as well as the prices, market share and profitability that the brand commands for the firm.”(Kotler, Keller, & Cunningham, P.127, 2008). Simply, the more distinct a brand is in the minds of customers or constituents, the more brand equity an organization can leverage to attract funding, talent and volunteers.

Keys to Brand Equity

Brand awareness is customers’ ability to recall the brand and the depth to which they understand the brand promise (Faircloth, 2005) inciting them to pay a premium for the product of service (Kotler,, 2008). A constituent with an accurate understanding of an NPO’s brand promise, will be more likely to make donations and volunteer their time. For example The Breast Cancer Foundation of Canada needs to make constituents aware of how its brand promise differs from the many other cancer foundations and social missions.

Brand image is the collection of interactions with the brand promise via multiple platforms creating the customer’s or constituent’s overall perception of the brand (Faircloth, 2005). For the NPO, brand image creates brand equity when each of the interactions with constituents creates a deeper connection to the organization and its social mission (Daw, Cone, Erhard, Darigan-Merenda, 2011). For example, The Breast Cancer Foundation of Canada interacts with constituents via multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Youtube, television news media, newspapers, magazines, and face-to-face. Each touch point is another opportunity for constituents to add to their perception of The Breast Cancer Foundation of Canada and its social mission.

Brand loyalty occurs when constituents feel their contributions to an organization make a noticeable difference (Daw, et. al., 2011) and encourages them to repeatedly volunteer their time or donate their money.

Brand relevance is the element of brand that makes it irresistible to the customer or constituent (Aaker, 2012) subsequently creating a competitive advantage for an organization. If a customer or constituent does not understand a brand’s relevance, there is little chance brand image, brand awareness, and brand loyalty will effectively generate brand equity.

iPhone5: The newest iteration of the iPhone recently hit the shelves around the globe. Has Apple provided enough touch points by which customers can form an informed image of the iPhone5 (brand image)? Are customers, at the point of purchase, able to recall the iPhone5 brand promise (brand awareness)? What percentage of iPhone5 sales are return customers (brand loyalty)? Will the iPhone5 have enough new features to make it irresistible to customers (brand relevance)?

Suggested Articles:


Win the Brand Relevance Battle and then Build Competitor Barriers


Aaker, D. A. (2012). Win the Brand Relevance Battle and then Build Competitor Barriers. California Management Review, 54(2), 43-57. doi:10.1525/cmr.2012.54.2.43.

Daw, J., Cone, C., Erhard, A., Darigan-Merenda, K. (2011)  Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding:  Seven Principles to Power Extraordinary Results.  New Jersey:  John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Faircloth, James B.. (2005). FACTORS INFLUENCING NONPROFIT RESOURCE PROVIDER SUPPORT DECISIONS:APPLYING THE BRAND EQUITY CONCEPT TO NONPROFITS. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 13(3), 1-15. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1061035961).


About Darcy McDonald

Exploring the intersection between social innovation and evaluation.


  1. Pingback: Branding Success Factor 5 | the social margin

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