Vicky Browning says superbrands, like charities, want to change hearts and minds

Plus: how brand values extend to recruitment

Mention "superbrands" and you probably think of Coca-Cola, McDonald's or Google. The concept appears to have very little to do with cash-strapped charities. But Kate Eden, head of brand at Cancer Research UK, believes that what links superbrands with charities is the desire to change hearts and minds. Kate defines a superbrand as "a brand of exceptional scale of influence". CRUK has identified 10 key characteristics of a superbrand: a single-minded focus; a brand-driven strategy; living your brand beliefs; harnessing powerful emotion; relentlessly self-improving; challenging the status quo; an iconic logo; collaborating smartly; co-creating with your audience; and riding the zeitgeist. None of these require megabuck budgets to adopt.

When it comes to living your brand beliefs, it's not hard to spot the charities that walk the talk. Brand values should permeate everything a charity says and does, including recruitment. I've seen very different approaches this month from two charities. One sends out a standard email to applicants that says: "It is not our policy to acknowledge applications." The other recognises that one of the factors driving jobseekers to apply is an interest in the cause. This automated response says limited resources mean the charity can't provide individual feedback, but thanks applicants for their time and interest and provides links to information about the charity's activities and other opportunities for involvement. It's an impressive first impression. And I know which of these charities I'd prefer to work for.

Vicky Browning is director of CharityComms

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