Why Social Enterprises should Invest in Branding and Marketing

What do you find in common with Coca Cola, Ford Foundation, Tata, CRY, Namani Gange, Infosys, Incredible India, BJP, Bank of India?

Apart from being very successful, they are all brands!

It is commonly misunderstood that branding and marketing is a privilege of consumer products and services. Far from the truth!!!

People prefer to buy and engage with brands. Brands give a guarantee of quality, an assurance, and comfort.

Branding differentiates when there is homogeneity. It could be a social enterprise, product, service, political party, destination, event, idea, NGO or a corporation.


Branding consists of these elements:

  • Positioning – the unique attribute or benefit that it should own. For e.g., for Volvo it is safety, wildlife conservation for WWF
  • Visual identity – logo/symbol, family of fonts, colours. For e.g., Tata blue, JCB yellow and black, etc.
  • Verbal identity – brand name, tagline. For e.g., CRY and the tagline: Stand up for what is right
  • Experiential identity – touch points that customers/stakeholders experience. For e.g., a tele call, office space, etc.


Marketing is not to be misunderstood for selling. Sales or selling is one-to-one. Marketing is one-to-all.

Marketing is the means to take the brand to the target audience, who responds. The response could be a purchase, or keeping it in memory (for future purchase), or taking a trial. There is a transaction that occurs.

Brand building is a result of marketing communications (marcom). The brand communicates to its audiences through various channels like TV, radio, newspapers, outdoor, digital mediums like SMS, social media platforms, websites, app and many more. This is called the marcom mix.

Benefits of branding for social enterprises

    • Be seen as a good corporate entity
    • Differentiate from competitors
    • Easier to raise investment
    • Increased credibility and trust with customers, employees, shareholders, distributors, partners, prospective customers

A social enterprise is no different from any other branded product, service, NGO, etc. If they do not invest in branding, they would remain unknown, undifferentiated, and generic.


About the Author

Nandita Khaire, the Founder of RemBrand, brings her expertise in marketing and branding. She is also a Service Partner for the Social Innovation Lab, providing marketing and branding services through the Shared Service Centre for Social Enterprises.

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