Managing dual identities in nonprofit rebranding: An exploratory study

Zoe Lee, Humphrey Bourne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (SciVal)
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Nonprofit organizations that engage in rebranding strategies face challenges reconciling normative (social or mission driven) and utilitarian (business driven) identities of their organizations. This research examines the interplay between rebranding processes and dual identities of ten rebranded charitable organizations, in particular how these identities are reflected in managers’ narratives and subsequently shape rebranding strategies. The study reveals four types of rebranding strategies and the potential drivers for their adoption. Pressure to secure resources can lead nonprofit organizations to emphasize utilitarian identities in rebranding, and so surface hidden tensions amongst stakeholders reluctant to relinquish established normative identities. In managing the process of rebranding, senior managers engage in practices of justifying, re-visioning, and influencing to reduce emerging tensions. The research suggests that successful nonprofit rebranding is best assured when both utilitarian and normative identity concerns are addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-816
Number of pages23
JournalNon-Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date20 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Sustainability
  • Rebranding strategy
  • organizational identity
  • nonprofit brand
  • dual identities


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