The baby boomers who built Oxfam feel its pain. It will be Gen X and Y who get the brand back to work.

Oxfam has become an iconic global organisation; each year raising millions of pounds and helping millions of people. Recent historical abuse allegations have damaged the brand’s reputation, putting its income and mission at risk. How can Oxfam recover and get back to work?
By
Julian Dailly

February 26, 2018

Oxfam started life in 1942. It was the first organised response to famine relief. It pioneered the charitable sale of second-hand clothes. Oxfam was one of the first brands to launch “regular giving”. Oxfam has become an iconic global organisation; each year raising millions of pounds and helping millions of people. Recent historical abuse allegations have damaged the brand’s reputation, putting its income and mission at risk. How can Oxfam recover and get back to work?

Next month Morar HPI will launch BrandVue Charities, our latest syndicated brand tracker, offering daily data on 100+ UK non-profit organisations polled from over 60,000 interviews annually with the UK’s general public. Ahead of its launch, we take a look at Oxfam through the data to understand more about the current situation and potential ways to refocus on its mission.

 

Buying and giving: Oxfam’s income is at risk

As Oxfam is such a large brand, its income base relies on positively engaging a large proportion of the UK population. What reputational damage really means is less money for its mission.

Brands work in the same way on the way down as they do on the way up: A well regarded brand drives choice wherever it is used, just as a tarnished brand drives deselection everywhere. BrandVue enables us to look at who is the most likely to remove their support for the brand.

 

Oxfam blighted by scandal

One of the interview questions asks people aware of Oxfam whether they have “heard something negative about Oxfam in the last month.”

This means more than half of people aware of Oxfam in the UK have recently heard something negative about the brand. When over 95% of UK adults know Oxfam; that’s a lot of people and a big problem for an organization that depends on consumer goodwill to execute its mission.

Older groups appear most sensitive to the scandal

BrandVue data shows the older you are, the more likely you are to have heard something negative. 30% of people under 30 have heard something negative, it’s 82% for those 60 or over.


Key questions

BrandVue data offers a treasure trove for the insight explorer, with over 120 fields to look at, cross reference, analyze and act on.

Younger groups offer hope for a reputational turnaround

The scandal has been picked up by all groups, but least by those under 30. Though these groups are the least financially valuable in the short term, BrandVue data shows interesting differences in younger demographics’ behavior versus the oldest groups. More than older groups, younger groups have:

Oxfam should focus on communicating to the young and harnessing the power of their advocacy across their wide and active social networks. After all, back in the 60’s it was the young, open minded post war baby boomers who created Oxfam. Perhaps again it will be their 21st century counterparts who recreate the brand.

Data and insight will speed recovery

Data and insight cannot undo wrongs committed by bad people, but it can help an organization like Oxfam plot an efficient and effective course back to safety, enabling it to most quickly get back to its core mission.

 

These and many other non-profit insights can be found in BrandVue Charities by Morar HPI. Contact Phillip Coote (phillip.coote@morarhpi.com or at +44 207 632 3456) who will be very happy to take you through how it all works.

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Header picture from Oxfam East Africa (CC)

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