Rebranding Opportunities for the American Red Cross?

by cv harquail on April 10, 2008

Bare chested male modelred-cross.bmp

The American Red Cross has appointed a new CEO, Gail J. McGovern. McGovern, currently a marketing professor at the Harvard Business School, has many years of experince at for profit and nonprofit organizations.

gail-j-mcgovern-arc.jpg Announcements of the new CEO mention the trials of the American Red Cross, noting that the organization has had 7 CEOs in the last seven years. None of these CEOs have been able to salvage the organization’s reputation or stabilize its financial status. Currently, the Red Cross is restructuring its organization and laying off over 1,000 employees.

Ms. McGovern acknowledges the challenges, “I’m hoping that I can bring my background and experience to the organization and help lead us to financial stability and growth.”

red-cross-truck.jpgIn addition to her corporate leadership, Ms. McGovern also has many years of volunteer experience, mainly in fund raising. Among the organizations for which she raised money is the Childrens’ Hospital in Boston.

Because the reputation of the Red Cross has been damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a scandalous resignation of the previous CEO, the American Red Cross needs public relations opportunities. It needs a chance to refresh its brand, to increase brand awareness, and to make people feel good about the American Red Cross again.

Given that Ms. McGovern has already successfully raised funds for a Childrens’ Hospital, and since the Columbus Children’s Hospital has achieved so much press with their recent cobranding effort, why not try the same thing with the American Red Cross?


What if Abercrombie & Fitch gave the American Red Cross a tidy sum of money, say $10-$20 million, to help with their $200 million operating deficit? The Red Cross could knowledge this gift by renaming one of their chapters, or perhaps their headquarters building in Washington, DC. They could rename it something like:

Abercrombie & Fitch Red Cross Center
for Help in Emergencies

This cobranding would bring Abercrombie & Fitch more notoriety, a characteristic that seems critical to their public image. And, the American Red Cross would receive much needed funding. In addition, this may make the A&F Red Cross more attractive to potential volunteers, especially young men between the ages of 14 — 28.


Just think who the Red Cross Abercrombie & Fitch Chapter could recruit now!

Thanks to Elrina for the photograph and the April fool’s joke that came with it.

[[Disclaimer: I’m kidding. Sort of.]]

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