Branding is more important than ever because the value of brands has increased, whether that’s on the balance sheets of businesses or in the trust accorded a nonprofit.

That’s the message from Bill Burke, senior vice president of marketing with Nationwide Insurance and The Salvation Army’s national advisory board chairman.

Most companies carry brand value as a goodwill line on their balance sheet, and that goodwill is worth a lot of money in a sale or merger, he said.

“An untrustworthy brand in the nonprofit world is doomed for failure,” Burke said. “Trust is lost not only among the donors but also among those we serve.”

Burke was the keynote speaker at The Salvation Army of Baton Rouge’s second annual Shield of Hope dinner at L’Auberge Casino. The nonprofit group recognized staff members and volunteers for their work in 2015.

The Salvation Army is one of the most trusted brands in the world, Burke said. That trust, built up during 150 years of service, is the key to unlocking the hearts of donors and the people the nonprofit serves.

As for Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company, Burke said its marketing budget is dwarfed by other insurers’, including Berkshire Hathaway’s Geico. Geico spends $1.3 billion a year on advertising and marketing.

In order to compete effectively, Nationwide takes a different approach, he said, tying its marketing efforts to the human side of sports stars. Former NFL great Peyton Manning has starred in a series of ads singing the company jingle — “Nationwide is on your side” — with silly lyrics.

In order to have a marketing impact with less, companies must be clever with their resources, he said. By doing so, firms can impact more people with their businesses and services.


May 20, 2016; 4:55 p.m.

Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter, @tedgriggsbr.