Nonprofit Branding: Antithetical to Movement Building?

Whereas:  the purpose of “branding” when used by for-profit corporations is the following:

  • promote recognition of a company and its associated products or services,
  • to set your company apart from the competition,
  • to get people to believe they “need” your product and then to buy it,
  • to create a positive feeling in customers for other products by the same company to provide business value;

Whereas: the purpose of social justice movements is the following:

  • promote equity,
  • insure fair redistribution of wealth,
  • provide health care, education and public services to all,
  • end racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression and institutional inequality
  • invite democratic participation from as many people as possible in the creation of a just and peaceful society
  • to unite people and organizations so that the power and resources of many can achieve the change that is not possible when we work separately;

Therefore, be it resolved:

Organizations that are explicitly working for social justice and see their work as part of a broader strategy of building strong social justice movements must be clear that branding is a tool in a capitalist system, which itself can only produce more inequality and oppression, and as such social justice organizations must resist the pressure to create or promote their own brand.