Fletcher in the News

Branding is Critical in the Non-Profit Sector: Prof. Nathalie Kylander

Branding for Nonprofits: New Research, New Insights

Nathalie Kylander is an adjunct assistant professor of international business at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and has been researching nonprofit brands for more than a decade.

Rahim Kanani: How did you first get involved with the world of non-profit marketing and branding, and why did you decide to embark on this research, now?

Nathalie Kylander: In 2002, my former marketing professor and mentor at Harvard Business School, John Quelch and I were having lunch and he mentioned having been struck by a report by Edelman PR that showed that nonprofit brands were trusted by more people, particularly in Europe, than commercial brands.

Having worked for Medecins Sans Frontieres prior to business school, John knew I was interested in nonprofits and he underscored the fact that hardly any research had been done on the subject of nonprofit brands. He convinced me to quit my day job and join him in researching and writing ten case studies that we published as a book a few years later. In fact, I have been studying nonprofit brands ever since. Following my work with John, I entered a PhD program at the Fletcher School, where I now teach, and wrote my dissertation thesis on Brand Equity in International Nonprofit Organizations. A number of follow-up publications with my dissertation chair and friend Bernard Simonin followed, and in 2010, I was contacted by the Hauser Center to see if I might work on a research project commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation on the role of brand in the nonprofit sector. I couldn’t resist!

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