If you thought the ad market was cut-throat, try working in the
charity sector. In an environment where hundreds of charities compete
for cash, the strength of the brand is crucial.
That's why the UK arm of the World Wildlife Fund is investing a further
pounds 1 million to make sure it stays at the top of the conservation
charities sector. Two weeks ago it handed the direct marketing agency
BHWG Proximity a brief to roll out what is thought will be a global
Aside from keeping up with consumers - the agency already handles the
organisation's direct marketing consumer fundraising account - the move
also heralds an increased focus on its famous Panda logo, with the
specific aim of targeting the big spenders: corporate donors.
The WWF's head of communications and marketing, Tania Reed, refuses to
confirm the agency's appointment or give details of any new strategy,
but admits that raising awareness among all potential donors is a
priority: 'When don't brands need more promotion?'
However, it is significant that of its pounds 22 million annual income,
45 per cent comes from members of the public and only 4 per cent comes
from the corporate world. It is, therefore, only logical that the WWF
should seek to promote its credentials as a global charity to global
Reed says that the WWF already actively targets companies, but also says
the competition is tough. 'Corporate funding is competitive and we have
very strict criteria about who we'll work with. We don't take money from
companies that are not actively choosing a green strategy,' she
BHWG is thought to have won the pitch against Circus and Leonardo
because it offered expertise on running campaigns for both the WWF brand
and individual projects involving high-profile species, the
organisation's source of 'sexy' hooks for fundraising.
Leonardo's chief executive, Steve Barton, says the WWF needs to keep
both corporate bosses and consumers in the street up to date with its
values and activities: 'It's essential to keep a brand vital. The
challenge comes in choosing the elements to focus on.
'Having a compelling brand makes it difficult for those corporate
funders to say no when you pitch them.'
Perhaps the charity's largest competitor in the UK is the RSPCA but,
with a clear market, it is readily understood by both consumers and
'Consumers know what the RSPCA does - it has a very clear message.
Promoting a wider conservation message is difficult,' Kay Cooper, the
group communications director at the competitor charity the World
Society for the Protection of Animals, says.
The WSPA has just appointed Lion to develop a campaign specifically
targeted at corporate donors. 'The time has come for us to really drive
a promotion,' Cooper adds.
The WWF's previous campaigns have focused on specific projects, but that
market is becoming increasingly crowded. The WFF is jockeying for
donations alongside specialised charities such as Save the Rhino. SRI
has appointed its own agency, 23red, to help find sponsors for a series
of TV shows.
SRI's events manager, Neil Bridgeland, claims the charity can compete
for donors on a project basis and points to its attempted hi-jack of the
Flora London Marathon - SRI's costumes are now a familiar feature on TV
coverage. However, he adds that the WWF leads the pack.