A brand is a promise. It’s what people perceive, feel and believe about the organization or person that embodies its message. A brand is also a vehicle for creating trust with stakeholders, and in the nonprofit sector in particular, trust is crucial.
In the case of Lance Armstrong and Greg Mortenson, it is fair to say that their respective “scandals” have negatively affected their individual brands. The extent to which the negative impact has spilled over into the organizations that the men helped build (Livestrong Foundation and Central Asia Institute) is still unclear. Some individuals may focus on the net positive impact that these organizations continue to have, while others may feel disillusioned. If people associate Livestrong with “Lance’s organization,” that emotional spillover might be greater than if they associate Livestrong with “fighting cancer.”
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