Four Building Blocks of Brand
As the number of nonprofit organizations grows — and competition among nonprofits with it — the need for strong branding among organizations has never been greater. In his white paper “Building the Nonprofit Brand From the Inside Out,” Carlo M. Cuesta, managing partner at Creation In Common LLC, a St. Paul, Minn.-base provider of strategic knowledge and services for nonprofit foundations and government agencies, says nonprofits need to do more these days than simply express a need. It’s more necessary than ever to both communicate a message and deliver on it. This builds organizational value, which can result in a brand identity that attracts constituents and their investments.
Creation In Common recommends the following four key elements as part of its brand model: mission and values; promises; results; and participant and supporter perceptions.
1. Mission and values. Cuesta advises organizations to cultivate a shared understanding among board members and staff of why the organization exists and its guiding principles.
2. Promises. Promises put your mission and values into action by stating how your organization will act on its mission. Come up with an agenda for your organization that lists goals, objectives and priorities. Promises should be based on the capabilities of your organization, the needs of those you serve and what your supporters want to see you accomplish.
3. Results. In order to reinforce a positive brand, you must be able to deliver on your promises.
4. Participant and supporter perceptions. Your organization’s brand, Cuesta writes, ultimately is defined by how participants and supporters perceive your results. In order to constantly convey to participants and supporters that you are delivering value, Cuesta says organizations need to create what he calls a positive brand environment.
To create a positive brand environment, an organization needs a:
* Brand message, or core idea that conveys the value the organization creates;
* Brand voice, or what the brand message sounds like when it’s delivered. Cuesta recommends organizations consider what their theme song might be. This might be an indication of your brand voice, e.g., soft, strong, etc.
* Brand touch points, or the ways the brand message is communicated. Examples are direct-mail or e-mail campaigns; special events; or in a brochure. Touch points become the ways participants and supporters recognize your brand.
Once your brand is built, make it a point to ensure that what you promise is delivered and communicated in the present and for the long term.
Carlo M. Cuesta can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org. To read this complete white paper: www.creationincommon.com/doc/BuildingtheNonprofitBrand.pdf