Brand Success: How to Enhance Your Brand

by Richard L. P. Solosky

A brand is the impression the public shares about an organization. Your organization already has a brand. It’s what the public thinks about you. It’s what fundraisers, constituents, volunteers, and colleagues in the community think about when they hear your name.

This brand awareness may, or may not be accurate, or flattering to your organization. The purpose of influencing your brand is to clearly communicate your strengths. Enhancing your brand, how others think of you, should be a top priority for your organization. It enhances fundraising and volunteer commitments and promotes your mission.

Following are ten tips on identifying, developing and promoting your unique brand.

  1. Brand Perception: Step back and view your organization through the eyes of a potential donor. Learn how others see your organization and discover what they think are its most important activities. If they don’t align with your perception, then it is time to reevaluate and start a bottom up branding campaign.
  2. Think Donors: For sustainability, you need to build a donor-centered brand. Today anyone can become a major ally and contributor for your organization and they respond best when they are moved by powerful stories of how your work affects the lives of those you serve. Build your case around the heart of who you are and couple it with a mission-defining story that aligns with donors’ dreams.
  3. Value Proposition: Ask yourself, “What is the one thing we do better than anyone else?” To be a meaningful brand, you need to find your niche, your position among the other organizations in your field. Your cause doesn’t need to be a first, a new category, approach, or service but it is important to identify what is unique and special about your work.
  4. Planning: Great brands require time to build; achieving them requires careful planning and attention to detail. Create a plan to close the gap between the current perception of your brand and your brand goal. Don’t allow your plan to sit on the shelf and collect dust, achieving a brand goal lies in keeping your brand out front.
  5. Organizational Alignment: Promote your brand from within and make it live throughout your organization. Top-down commitment and involvement of each person in the organization is fundamental to success. Your brand needs to live in the hearts and minds of every stakeholder in the organization; it must be embraced and promoted from inside out.
  6. Visual Consistency: Your logo mark, vision and mission statement set the foundation for how the public reacts in ways seen and unseen. You don’t need a rigid set of rules to govern your branding and marketing tactics, but you do need to present a consistent picture across all touch points. Don’t dilute your branding efforts with too many messages, directions, or destinations.
  7. Multiple Touch Points: Message consistency across many touch points and lot’s of it are the keys to building an effective, accurate brand. A brand that lives on in the mind of donors and constituents must be developed through years of message layering. Creating a campaign designed to inform, motivate and educate at many levels from web, to collateral, to white papers, and relationships is essential to success.
  8. Website Success: A web site is not just your organization’s digital marketing effort, but your mission’s global voice to a wider audience base, driving common held beliefs and efforts in far-reaching locations and peoples.
  9. Partnerships and Alliances: Friends, Partners and Supporters are your best sources for promoting your organization and building your brand. Friends, supporters, and volunteers identify with your mission, so actively search for alliances with other organizations, government, media, and business. This step alone often brings the most benefit to nonprofit organizations.
  10. Just Be Great: There’s no substitute for simply being remarkable. Work towards excellence in all things you do. Aspire for greatness and the branding will come with ease.

This week’s Rich Tips was written by Richard L. P. Solosky. You can call Richard at 303-881-6786, or email him at rsolosky@questusstrategies.com.

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