Charities Branding – Measuring Brand Equity Case Study | Vision One Research

Charity Research Vision One

Charities Branding – Measuring Brand Equity Case Study | Vision One Research

How to Measure Brand Equity - BrandVision

The UK Charity Sector

For many people, awareness of the work that charities do begins at a young age. School-based collections and sponsored activities give an early introduction to the idea of donating time and money to others.

The effect, it seems, stays with us. According to the Charities Aid Foundation, the UK is the most generous nation in Europe, and there are around 170,000 registered charities in England and Wales alone. Donating money is the most popular form of charitable giving, with 61% of the population doing so in 2016, with medical research being the most common recipient. Donating goods is also popular, with 56% giving to charity in this way during the same year.

In spite of recent political uncertainties, charitable donations remain reasonably stable, although this means that charities must work hard to raise awareness and attract their share of all this generosity. There are many factors that can help or hinder a charity’s efforts, but just as in the commercial world, brand equity plays a vital role in the success, or otherwise, of this task.

Measuring UK Charities Brand Equity 

Each time we encounter a brand – by seeing it, hearing about it or experiencing it – we build up a sense of what that brand is about. Whilst donating to most charities can make us feel good, certain charities stand out  of the crowd and make us feel better or more willing to donate. We call this Brand Equity.

Measuring UK charities brand equity is not as simple as it might seem. At Vision One, we know that understanding brand equity is only half the story and the other half is knowing how to improve it. But you can’t do one without the other, and that means measuring brand equity in order to take the next step. There are a number of popular charities in the UK, many running high profile national campaigns, with Cancer Research UK topping the list when it comes to its fundraising income. In this case study, we look at how its brand equity compares across some of the UK’s best known names to illustrate how best to measure brand equity in the third sector.

The Brand Equity Wheel

The Brand Wheel is at the hub of our Brand Equity measurement and comprises of four key themes which help create the measure for Brand Equity (otherwise know as Brand Index)

  1. The Brand Pyramid (or brand funnel) reflects the theoretical journey towards building a strong brand relationship & brand loyalty.
  2. Brand Stature reflect the uniqueness and leadership within the market.
  3. Brand Delivery reflects the ability to satisfy customers and generate brand recommendations.
  4. Brand Utility is arguably the most important and identifies the rational and emotional needs in the market and how brands perform in terms of adding value.
Cancer Research Brand Equity Score Vision One

Put simply, Cancer Research UK raises far more money than any other British charity, so it should come as no surprise that its brand equity is very high. Indeed, Cancer Research achieves a Brand Index of 67. The British Heart Foundation and the British Legion also score well, but Cancer Research UK’s perceived position as a leader, along with people’s sense of satisfaction with the brand, help put it in front.

Brand Equity Scores Charities Vision One
The Brand Pyramid

The Brand Pyramid is often seen as one of the most important measures of Brand Equity. It is made up of 5 key metrics:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Brand Interest
  • Usage (Purchase Behaviour)
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Customer Loyalty
Cancer Research Brand Funnel Vision One

Cancer Research UK has huge brand awareness reflecting its position at the top of the charities sector. A large proportion of those who are aware of the charity have also engaged with it, although brand loyalty is perhaps not as high as might be expected. This shows that even for such a successful organisation, there are still plenty of opportunities for growth.

Meeting Rational And Emotional Needs

Brand values vary considerably between the charities, with Cancer Research UK scoring highest overall and being recognised for its sense of optimism in particular.
Comic Relief, the British Legion and the British Heart Foundation are in joint second place, though all for different reasons. Comic Relief’s TV-focused campaigning puts the emphasis on entertainment, while the British Legion is recognised for its powerful visuals and the British Heart Foundation for its therapeutic qualities.

Charity Brand Emotion Cancer Research Vision One
Added Value (£)

Charities are unlike commercial brands in that those who donate don’t expect a product or service in return. However, brand equity still has an impact on the sums that people are prepared to give.

As in other categories, Cancer Research UK scores very highly, suggesting that people giving to the charity are prepared to donate more than they would to other causes. Compared to other charities in this group, Oxfam and Amnesty International attract the lowest price premiums reflecting the more functional perception of these brands.

Brand Value Charities Vision One
Brand Stature

There are two components to brand stature. Brand uniqueness reflects the brand’s ability to stand out from the crowd, while leadership is the extent to which the brand is seen to be leading the market.

Cancer Research Net Promoter Score Vision One

Our research shows that there are clear differences between the brand – Comic Relief and the British Legion come out best in terms of uniqueness. In comparison, there’s no arguing with Cancer Research UK’s position as the UK’s leading charity brand with highest levels of leadership. This factor is one of its major strengths.

Brand Fame

Charities rely on public trust in order to attract donations, and a brand that doesn’t deliver satisfaction is unlikely to be able to raise significant sums. Recommendations are also important in order to help spread the word about a charity’s work.

In this category, all the charities score well, with Comic Relief and the British Heart Foundation coming out on top. However, both Cancer Research UK and Oxfam are very close behind, suggesting that they are all effective at presenting their case to the public.

Charity Fame Vision One