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Do Microfinance Institutions Really Need to Worry About Their Brand?

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This paper argues that the brand of an organisation is the essence of what the institution stands for in the market: the organisation’s personality and business aspirations. It states that brands are the perceptions, emotions and attitudes others have towards your product or service. It also suggests, however, that there is a collective lack of corporate brand experience in the microfinance sector, which may be due to a limited understanding of what a brand is and how it can be leveraged to attract more clients and build client loyalty, while helping an institution to work more effectively.

This paper documents some of the experiences of MicroSave’s Action Research Partners (ARPs) in strategically building a corporate brand to reach more clients, increase profitability and become more market-led. The principles outlined are drawn from MicroSave and Women’s World Banking (WWB)’s Corporate Brand and Identity Toolkit. The paper provides insights on the brand building process that can assist other financial service providers in designing a strategy for brand development, implementation and monitoring. Following a discussion about what a brand is, using real life examples to illustrate the points raised, the paper sets out why brands are important to MFIs. This section is based around 7 key areas in which brands can assist:

  • facing competition
  • maintaining market leadership
  • mobilising savings
  • unifiying stakeholders around a common vision
  • enhancing market effectiveness
  • increasing profitability
  • building credibility

The paper then sets out steps for developing a brand. It suggests beginning from any brand that may already exist and offers a number of tools that may be used in assessing this starting point. The next stage is to consider where the institution wants to be, before moving into the actual design process.

Following a successful design, the brand then needs to be implemented, requiring communication both internally and externally. The paper suggests ways in which this can be undertaken in an effective manner. Finally, the paper discusses the importance of monitoring the brand’s success.

  • Resource type
  • Author Parrott, L
  • Organisation
  • Year of Publication2006
  • Region
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Number of pages28 pp.

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