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The Salvation Army is More Than Red Kettles
By: Cindy Wendland
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Whether your organization is for profit or not-for-profit, branding still applies. The Salvation Army is synonymous with the Red Kettle. It is part of their brand. Beginning November 1, The Salvation Army kicks off the Red Kettle campaign — their yearly fundraising drive. The proceeds from this drive fund their humanitarian efforts for the coming year.

The consistent branding efforts of the Salvation Army for over 100 years have cemented the image of the Red Kettle bell ringers with the Salvation Army good works. Over the years, the expectation and familiarity of the red kettles at Christmas have made their presence blend in with their surroundings. To get attention, creative bell ringers liven up their brand with energy and good humor — singing Christmas carols, dancing, and engaging passing shoppers. The challenge is to keep a brand consistent yet fresh to avoid blending in.

The mission behind their brand is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet basic human needs in His name without discrimination. Many people may realize or assume that their donation of change or bills in the red kettle helps those less fortunate but may be unclear on the specifics. In the economic downturn, people remembered The Salvation Army as a resource for help, and learned those specifics firsthand. Those who may have donated are now the ones receiving donations.

One of the impressive aspects of their organization is ministering to emotional needs and human suffering. In the wakes of 911 or natural disasters, The Salvation Army will be one of the first responders and will provide food and water. They will also be found deep in conversation, providing comfort, support, and love.

Consistent with the nature of what they offer, The Salvation Army is humble and gracious in their success stories and how many people’s lives they have changed. The scope of how they serve and help those in need is so broad. Their staunch supporters are well aware of their good works. For others, it is the ringing of the bells that makes them pause to think about what The Salvation Army does.

The Salvation Army is consistent year after year with their red kettles and bell ringing asking for your support and change. Their brand is long lasting. Their brand means love and compassion. Their brand means hope.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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