Monday, November 28, 2011

Is Your Nonprofit Brand the Best It Can Be?

In today's crowded marketplace everyone is seeking ways to stand out in the mailbox or inbox? For many, this question is answered with a myriad of tests ranging from alternative package sizes, adding new components, catchy OE teasers, etc.

All of the above are "tactics" and the majority of these tactics fail when tested. So today I challenge us to think bigger.

I have read lots of good content on Branding and Mission Statements, most recently Katya's blog had a great post on improving your mission statement and I think this is one place we can definitely think bigger.

Why? Because our space is fraught with an enormous amount of brand confusion and building a great Nonprofit brand identity is a great chance to separate yourself from the rest of the market if you do it well.

What Should Every Nonprofit Brand Strive to Do?

In the book Made to Stick the Heath Brothers provide a framework for creating sticky statements called SUCCESS. In fundraising each communication presents a unique set of challenges so creating new "sticky statements" in every communication may be too much to ask but conveying a strong brand should not be and is as simple as doing the following:

1) Build Credibility
2) Generate Emotion
3) Be relevant

Said another way:

1) If I recognize your brand I will BELIEVE!
2) If I believe in your mission I will CARE!
3) If what you ask for resonates with me I will ACT!

The work required to achieve all of the above is different for every organization depending on the life stage in which you are in today.

Large, long-standing Nonprofits often have a recognizable logo (or Brand) but often struggle with finding ways to get people to act because of their size or wide array of services that dilutes their relevancy.

Conversely, small Nonprofits often lack awareness or credibility and need to get the skeptical donors to believe before they will ever give regardless of how compelling their story is.

At the End of the Day...

Above all else, your Brand sells your organization. When people buy Volvo they think "safety". When people buy from Apple they are buying "innovation", when people buy from GM or Chrysler they are buying "American"...a great brand is quickly and easily attached to some positive emotion.

Does your organizations brand have a clear identity? If not, start by asking yourself, "Why should people believe in us", "Why should people care", and "What would compel people to act". If you can answer those questions clearly you may be on your way to be the Apple of Nonprofits!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said. If every NP were to strive to do this, what would there plan be to get there? I fear many are at ground zero and getting where you say they need to go may seem daunting, we need to map out a high level plan on how to get there....What's the framework/methodology to get to where you sare saying they need to be? :-)