Advice From the Front Lines on Branding Via Social Media
With a strong brand, your organization can use social networks to harness a web of supporters who can spread your message to their extended networks, creating exponential reach.
NWF has many branded programs — NWF Campus Ecology, Green Hour, Great American Backyard Campout, Wildlife Watch and Climate Classroom. Despite that and its long history, Brigida said, its brand is easily confused with other organizations.’
She said she encourages program staff to join social-media sites and do their own outreach, which she then promotes through NWF profiles.
She recommends empowering staff to represent your brand. In the open-source world we live in now, the people that represent the brand are just as important as the brand itself.
"If you can't trust your staff to represent you, then that's something you should think about," Brigida said.
Organizations need to learn to give up some control if they want to be successful on social networks. Trust your instincts and create an honest presence online, while following branding guidelines you've put in place.
Listen and learn. How are people responding to your organization? What makes them happy and engaged? What inspires them to defend your cause? NWF listens by searching news headlines, blogs and social sites for topics and conversations surrounding it and its cause.
The National Parks Conservation Association deals with weak name recognition and a lot of brand confusion, as it's often confused with the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation.
It recently began an online (including social networks) and offline branding initiative to help audiences understand who it is and its mission. Elements of the initiative include setting goals for the brand; determining the organization's strengths and weaknesses; assessing the competition; developing a brand platform; creating a brand map; researching and defining target audiences; creating brand guidelines; and creating and implementing a rollout strategy.