What Your CEO (or Board) Really Wants to Know About Branding
Often the biggest hurdle you’ll face in developing or refining the brand strategy for your organization is the reluctance of the CEO to buy into the importance of branding. But it’s critical to get the full support and backing from the CEO or your board before proceeding down the brand path.
Bob Lamons, communications consultant and founder of Robert Lamons and Associates, says, “The CEO needs to be the No. 1 brand champion. No exceptions. No extenuating circumstances. If she resists accepting this responsibility, the company will suffer.”
I’ve heard more than one CEO ask the questions, “But how does the brand fit into the big picture? What will be the impact on member/donor growth? If our priority is growing support for the organization, how will the refocused brand help us achieve that?”
While there’s no one-sentence answer to those questions, a brand is an organizations’ reputation in the minds of its supporters and prospects. It’s the gut feeling that one has for an organization. Just like consumer businesses and products, organizations have a reputation (brand) -- whether they like it or not. Great organizations actively manage their brand, which means having a compelling answer to the question, “Why should I support your organization?”
In a society where people have less time and shorter attention spans, your organization must have a succinct, compelling and unique brand. By having a fanatical focus on reinforcing your brand reputation in everything you do (and eliminating those things that dilute this reputation), you are more likely to engage donors and prospects who are looking for an organization with your unique attributes.
So your brand isn’t just a component of the big picture; rather it is the big picture. There’s a maxim that states: “The brand is the strategy.” It’s important for organizational leadership to understand that the brand will be the touchstone on which everything else you do and say should relate and reflect.