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  • Repositioning the CARE Brand, “I Am Powerful”

CARE was originally an acronym for Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe. It currently stands for Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere. The organization was founded in 1945 to provide relief to survivors of World War II. CARE soon expanded beyond Europe, becoming one of the world’s largest and most respected humanitarian organizations. As John F. Kennedy described it in 1962, “Every CARE package is a personal contribution to the world peace our nation seeks. It expresses American concern and friendship in a language all peoples understand.” And, indeed, for nearly 60 years, CARE had been identified with that work and that image. A “CARE package” became a euphemism for college students, GIs abroad, and anyone else who got a check, a box of cookies, or bundle of clothing to help get them through.


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Historic images of CARE advertising: CARE in Austria, Korea, France, and Germany


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Historic images of CARE advertising: CARE in Austria, Korea, France, and Germany


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Historic images of CARE advertising: CARE in Austria, Korea, France, and Germany


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Historic images of CARE advertising: CARE in Austria, Korea, France, and Germany

By 2003, however, CARE officials began to realize that the organization needed to become less reliant on government donors and to broaden and diversify its revenue base among private contributors. Its revenue growth was only moderate, and opportunities for expanding revenue growth through small donors were limited. Its own surveys showed that awareness of the nature of CARE’s mission in 2003 was extremely low, and even when there was awareness, the “quality” of that awareness was poor. Because CARE’s work had evolved over the half decade since its inception, CARE officers were also concerned that the message CARE was presenting to its donor group and even its staff was no longer aligned with the actual work the organization was doing.

Building awareness and familiarity with CARE and its current work thus became the prerequisites to realizing greater donor support. A new branding program that would educate and inform, as well as better match the image of CARE to its current work, was called for. The multifaceted benefits of such an approach included: (1) attracting new donors and reinvigorating existing donors; (2) acquiring donors, advocates, and partners more efficiently and cost-effectively; (3) adding credibility to the organization’s policy positions and enhancing media coverage; and (4) invigorating staff morale and enhancing Board recruitment.

The need for better communication of clear, straightforward ideas to a specific audience was also obvious. But how to do that in light of a program that covered water, health, HIV/Aids, emergency response, education, agriculture, and microfinance for mothers, fathers, orphans, women, teachers, emergency victims, boys, girls, sex workers, and farmers in developing countries was far less obvious.

CARE has always worked with the most vulnerable populations. What became apparent over time, was that the most vulnerable were often women and girls. Therefore, empowering women and girls had proved to be central to CARE’s programming reality (creating a better quality of life for families and communities, including enhanced child health, improved opportunities for children, lower population growth rates, higher income, and improved family nutrition). Statistics show that, within the geographic arena for its programming:

  • • of those living in extreme poverty (living on the equivalent of less than $1 per day), the majority are women and girls;

  • • sixty percent of the 150 million primary-school-age children who are not in school are girls;

  • • one extra year of girls’ education raises family wages by 10 to 20 percent;

  • • women aged 15–24 in sub-Saharan Africa are three times more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS than men of the same age;

  • • of the 876 million illiterate adults in the developing world, two-thirds are women; and

  • • women produce half the world’s food but own only 1 percent of its farmland.

CARE began a six-stage process for remaking its brand. Beginning with an assessment of its situation and goals, it progressed to an...

Additional Information

ISSN
2475-1790
Launched on MUSE
2008-03-27
Open Access
No
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