Branding: it pays to stand out from the crowd

January 4, 2013

With tight budgets and many demands on their time, nonprofits leaders often view branding projects with skepticism. Why spend hard-earned dollars navel-gazing when you can invest it in program work instead?

It’s a good question, and the intangible benefits of branding can be hard to quantify. But a powerful brand can have a transformative effect, focusing an organization on its special niche, making everything from fundraising to member recruitment easier and more effective.

Take Gorilla Doctors, a partnership between the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center and Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. Prior to a branding project, the two entities called their collaboration the Mountain Gorilla One Health Program. Staff and leaders alike struggled to articulate just what the project was and how it related to the partnering organizations. And in a crowded field of gorilla conservation organizations, that complexity made every aspect of the program’s work harder.

Resource Media helped staff and supporters focus on the organization’s unique niche as the only non-governmental group providing hands-on medical care to highly endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. Instead of Mountain Gorilla One Health Program, trustees and staff decided to consolidate their identity under the moniker “Gorilla Doctors,” which perfectly captures the program’s role and value-add in a crowded nonprofit space.

The new name and identity has provided much-needed clarity to staff and leaders, and it’s caught the eye of others—including Nonprofit Tech 2.0—which selected Gorilla Doctors among its 2013 favorite nonprofits. With this distinction, Gorilla Doctors joins esteemed and internationally-recognized organizations like Partners in Health, MomsRising, and Girls Education International among many other top-notch nonprofits, and will receive a portion of Nonprofit Tech 2.0’s income to advance its mission.

That’s money in the bank, and much-needed exposure for Gorilla Doctor’s very important work.