Intercept. Interpret. Invite. Intrigue. Inspire.
(Editor’s Note: With great thanks to The Agitator (www.theagitator.net), here are some eloquent thoughts on branding for nonprofits from veteran nonprofit marketer Tom Belford.)
Intercept. Interpret. Invite. Intrigue. Inspire. These are the words that come to mind when I think about how I would establish and grow a nonprofit brand.
Intercept: Perhaps nothing requires more marketing creativity today than getting in the face of your target audience with a relevant message at a ripe moment. Fortunately, even as the communications blizzard gets more dense, the methodologies for targeting are getting cheaper, faster, more penetrating and sophisticated, especially in the online universe.
The going rate for launching a new commercial brand is about $100 million … the amount Procter & Gamble recently committed to launching a new toothpaste. Unless you have that kind of dough to saturate the entire breathing public with your message, you’ll need to figure out how to place your organization directly in a purposeful path your prospect is already taking. For you basketball fans, it’s sort of like drawing a charging foul.
If you’ve studied your audience carefully enough, intercepting its best members becomes affordable and cost-effective.
Interpret: Having won some initial attention, the next requirement is to offer real value to your prospect. Many nonprofits essentially are in the information dissemination business. But simply furnishing information about human rights abuses, promising health research or global warming, etc., while necessary, no longer is sufficient. There are too many alternative — and free — sources of even arcane information out there, mere clicks away.
Why should I pay (i.e., contribute to) your organization for mere information, when I can get it in a myriad of places at no cost? I’ll do it only if your organization adds value by framing, interpreting and validating the information, helping me to understand complex issues and showing me how I can constructively channel my energy to make an impact. You need to help me interpret what’s happening in the world(s) I care about.