Conference Roundup: Winning the Battle of the Brand
An organization’s brand touches a person’s head, heart and spirit, says Tony Elischer, managing director of U.K.-based THINK Consulting Solutions.
“A brand is a relationship that creates and secures an emotional connection to a cause in a profound way that leads to a funding preference and volunteer loyalty,” Elischer said in his session, “Brandraising: Securing Share of Mind, Heart and Spirit,” at the 2008 Bridge Conference held last month in Washington, D.C.
“Do a brand right, and a donor will trust you. They will tolerate us asking for money,” he said.
Branding can make or break an organization. Marketers must own and drive an organization’s brand because it’s more than just a name and a logo.
Elischer said organizations have a better chance of “getting” branding if they use key thinking to inspire supporters and connect them to a cause, while driving loyalty and making sure it stands out from the pack.
“Brands are more important than ever,” Elischer said. “People now have a desire to transcend material satisfaction and experience emotional fulfillment.”
If you’re a nonbeliever, just take a gander at U.S. Social Security records. When it comes to naming newborns, Americans are increasingly turning to the world of best-selling brands. In 2000, for example, six Americans were named after footwear giant Timberland, 49 were named after camera company Canon, followed by 11 Bentleys, five Jaguars and a Xerox. Chanel also is very popular.
“People become very loyal to a brand,” Elischer said, adding that smart nonprofits will learn from their commercial counterparts.
“Take the best learning from commercial, but don’t take it wholesale,” Elischer said. “Commercial is now desperate for emotional connection. That is something nonprofits already do. [Corporations] are trying to steal, in essence, what we do now.”
Elischer said the keys to successfully building and strengthening a brand lay in recognition, consistency, emotion, values, capability, uniqueness and adaptability.