Here's an odd finding reported at the Neuromarketing blog: Holy Branding! Religion Gives Brand Immunity. The main point:
... religious people, or even people temporarily in a religious frame of mind, find branded items less appealing than do less religious people.
(Abstract and order form here: Brands: The Opiate of the Nonreligious Masses?)
We could do all kinds of theorizing about why this is so. And we shouldn't over-conclude based on one study. But to me this finding suggests two things to fundraisers:
- If your donors are religious (and most of them are, even if your organization isn't) being heavily brand-focused may not do you a lot of good. (By brand-focused, I mean the outward and visible manifestations of brand -- the strict "brand-cop" approved stuff.) This is in line with my experience: Story, authenticity, and offer are what make a fundraising message work. Brand-cop stuff usually doesn't work as well.
- If you yourself are not religious, it may be that you find clear visual branding more compelling than a lot of your donors do. Don't mistake your psychology and preferences for your donors'.