For some interventions, it is appropriate to consider what branding and brand positioning will offer the greatest support. This includes whether or not a new brand is required, or how the intervention will relate to, and lever, existing brands that it can benefit from, rather than create a wholly new (and possibly expensive) brand of its own.

It is worth noting that branding is increasingly becoming a feature of social marketing. For example, the European Union’s anti-smoking campaign HELP and the UK Department of Health’s Change for Life campaigns are evidence that the benefits of branding are recognised.

It is also worth considering using existing brands. The NHS is recognised spontaneously by over 95% of the public, and carries high levels of trust and credibility. By using the NHS corporate identity correctly, you can help to reassure people that services are part of the NHS family, and that these services are being delivered in line with our values (see the NHS Brand Guidelines website for more information).

We are also increasingly concerned with positioning, and to how we want target audiences (and other stakeholders) to interpret a brand in relation to other brands in the market (particularly those which are competing). In other words, we may need to consider the image of the intervention and the values and beliefs that consumers will associate with its brand.

This task area links to two of NSMC Benchmark Criteria, including No. 6 Competition, which emphasises understanding what competes for the time and attention of the audience; and No. 8 Methods Mix which emphasises the need to identify a mix of methods covering both strategic and operational social marketing.