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Consultancy Interbrand Group today launches the Interbrand Foundation, which will use the company's staff and facilities worldwide to develop branding strategies for and make contributions to non-profit charitable organizations.

The Omnicom Group unit said it plans to contribute up to $2 million in professional services, approximately 2% of Interbrand Group's total volume.

The foundation already has amassed a long list of candidates eager to receive branding direction.

"We have more than I can keep track of at the moment," said Interbrand Foundation Chairman Alvin Schechter. He hopes to select between 10 and 15 organizations before yearend, aiming to have several programs implemented by March.


In making its selections, the foundation is looking to span many categories of social welfare organizations, including those dedicated to the handicapped and the socially disadvantaged as well as those devoted to medicine, education and the arts.

In order to help smaller organizations, "one of our criteria is that they're really not able to pay for our services," Mr. Schechter said.

In addition, since Interbrand is donating only its professional expertise, "we also insist that there be a sponsor able to cover the cost of implementation.

"We're trying to use our expertise where it's going to do the most good," he noted. "The same teams of people working globally for BMW, PepsiCo, General Motors Corp. and British Telecom will be working for charities."

He said he believes branding is even more critical for non-profits than for corporate clients, because "they're competing for the attention of the public; they need to have their missions understood, to attract volunteers, to motivate staff, to get contributions," Mr. Schechter said. "Sometimes it's hard to focus and remember who they are. [Branding] will portray their reason for being in an arresting way."

Branding has become a focal point among non-profits, he added: "They've all heard about it. They realize its importance and want to do it. They just don't have the funds."


The Urban Justice Center, a New York-based legal advocacy group for the homeless, already is benefiting from the foundation's work. It has given the center a new logo and developed the theme "I am" to tie together the organization's communications and initiatives.

"We do a lot of great work here, but people really can't remember who we are," said Doug Lasdon, executive director of the center. "This is exactly what we

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