We have all seen companies with an unclear brand. You know that funny commercial, or jingle, that gets stuck in your head but you can’t for the life of you remember the brand behind it? Who are they? And what do they stand for?
“A brand is a claim of distinction. Without distinction there is no differentiation and without differentiation you have a sea of sameness,” says Brand Strategist, Michelle Taglialatela.
Most nonprofits probably don’t have branding at the top of their list for strategic initiatives, but they should. Branding is especially important for nonprofits because if potential donors and supporters don’t know who you are and what you stand for, then how can they get behind your cause? With hundreds upon hundreds of charities in the Greater Philadelphia Area alone, a distinct positioning is what you need to set your organization apart. The integrity of your brand is everything, which, in turn, allows the community to trust you. Trust = increased donations.
The beauty of a nonprofit is that there are great stories to tell. And when done in a clear and memorable way, a great brand story can take your organization and its mission to the next level.
Here are three tips for nonprofits to keep in mind (and a few questions to ask) when rebranding:
Know WHY you’re rebranding.
A brand is much more than a logo, tagline, messaging or visuals. We call this the “ing” of brand, a.k.a. branding. There are many reasons why a nonprofit may feel the time is right to rebrand. Has the focus of the organization shifted? Is it growing and going national? Is the competition heating up? Whatever the reason, it is imperative the entire internal team, in addition to the community, understands the true purpose so they can continue to support the mission.
Make your purpose clear.
There are many amazing charities out there all vying for support, but most people only have the financial means to support one or two. Why should they choose to support your organization? A nonprofit’s positioning must convey why it is different and what it can accomplish through that difference. When your claim of distinction is clear, it is easy for the community to embrace your organization.
The tagline is your best opportunity for emphasizing your distinction. Make sure it back ups what you do. For example, the American Cancer Society’s tagline is “The Official Sponsor of Birthdays.” It is creative and moving, but still clear that they are searching for a cure for cancer.
Stay connected with your community.
Once you have community buy-in, you want your donors, supporters and volunteers to feel a sense of social responsibility to help you meet your goals.
Today communication with your community is getting easier with the use of social media channels. You are able to connect directly through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. This is the perfect way to share upcoming events, success stories, recruit volunteers, and spread the word of all the good you are doing…a.k.a. increasing your brand awareness. Bringing Hope Home (BHH), a local nonprofit, Tag Strategies recently rebranded, does a great job of leveraging social platforms to do exactly this. For example, their Facebook page is always full of their latest event photos, quotes from families and fundraising goals met.
Consistency is key; make sure to share the same message across all markets. Nonprofits that allow local chapters to create their own marketing communications tend to confuse the core brand message.
Here’s a great example: The American Heart Association does an effective job getting communities involved with their local chapter and keeping their brand consistent.
Please pass along these tips to the nonprofits in your life , especially the ones you feel are in need of some love. Tag is always here to help!