Tag(line)! You’re It!
September 1, 2007

What comes to mind when you hear the words, “The breakfast of champions”? What if I said, “Don’t leave home without it”? How about, “Just do it”? If you’re like most people, you’ll quickly reply, Wheaties, American Express and Nike. And therein lies the power of a good tagline. Power that also is available to nonprofits: strong words.

Branding Best Practices and Pitfalls to Avoid
July 17, 2007

Most nonprofits understand the necessity of having a strong brand. It’s knowing how to create a strong brand that’s the hard part. Quite a few sessions at the Bridge Conference in Washington, D.C. last week focused on the topic of branding and proved that a little guidance can go a long way. In her session, “Brand and Loyalty Marketing: A Creative Approach,” Catherine M. Shaw, president of branding agency Mediastudio, reviewed the following three branding best practices that organizations can put to use to create a more effective branding strategy. Best practice No. 1: Employ multi-faceted brand strategies. Shaw said many groups use

Branding: It’s More Than Just a Logo
July 17, 2007

Understanding what a brand is, why it’s important and how to create, change or evaluate the success of it is vital for every organization. In his session, “How to Brand Your Organization,” at the Bridge Conference in Washington, D.C., last week, Joel Zimmerman, director of consulting services at CDR Fundraising Group, a provider of integrated fundraising services, walked attendees through the ins and outs of branding. Zimmerman first looked at what a brand is, describing it as the stereotypical reaction people have to your organization. A brand evokes information (what do I know about them?), emotion (do I like them?) and expectations (should I

What Your CEO (or Board) Really Wants to Know About Branding
June 19, 2007

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

Branding: More Than Just Lipstick on a Pig
June 19, 2007

Rebranding efforts take a lot of energy. Before nonprofits rebrand they should make sure they have identified the right problem to solve so that their energy is going into the right place. This was the advice shared by Katya Andresen, vice president of marketing for Network for Good, in a post on Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog on Feb. 8. If an organization determines that rebranding itself is the solution to its problems, Andresen advises it truly rebrand, rather than just change its look with a new logo, name or Web site. “If you have an aging or dwindling donor base, problems articulating your

Avoiding Brand Sabotage
June 19, 2007

“Often it really is the little things that communicate the brand, and not necessarily the brand you want to have.” This, according to Mark Rovner, president of integrated marketing and fundraising firm Sea Change Strategies, in a post on the company’s blog a few weeks ago in which he discussed the issue of brand authenticity. Rovner described a recent stay he’d had at a Hyatt hotel. He was thirsty and so he reached for the unopened bottle of Dasani water on the dresser, but was shocked to find it was $6. “I don’t remember whether the bed was comfortable, I don’t remember whether the

The Importance of Making Eye Contact
June 19, 2007

I, like Carnac the Magnificent, can tell you the contents of 95 percent of the nonprofit solicitations that come in my mail each day — without opening the envelopes. Inside, there will be a two-page letter from the head of the organization with a lengthy, highly crafted explanation of what the organization is doing, which makes it abundantly clear that the need is more than urgent. There might be a petition for me to sign and send back for submission to Congress. There definitely will be a plea for money. I further predict that I will not read the letters even though I

The Pursuit of Brand Happiness
May 1, 2007

Not long ago, a few companies realized something profound about the human spirit in its pursuit of meaning and purpose. Then they quietly began to reinvent their reason for being in order to bring “meaning” to the lives of the people who buy their products.

How to Love Fundraising
April 1, 2007

Imagine a baseball team full of players who don’t like baseball. To them, baseball is distasteful. A shady exercise that’s necessary to fill the stadium. The rules annoy them. They play with gritted teeth, resentful every minute. When they sit in the dugout, they complain about the fans who put them through this degrading spectacle. They dream of better fans — ones who will show up without demanding baseball.