I’ve been thrilled to hear more and more mission-driven organizations talk about their brand. It’s downright happy-making.
In this day and age, understanding your organization’s brand is imperative if you want to stand out while staying grounded. When the three elements of brand (visual, narrative and experiential) come together in a compelling and consistent manner, you create an engagement-rich environment.
Here’s what doesn’t thrill me. When someone uses the word ‘brand’ instead of ‘organization’. To illustrate:
“Donors just love our brand!”
Really? Have you heard a donor say: “I support Organization Awesome because I just love their elevator pitch.” Or perhaps, “Organization Awesome is my #1 partner-in-good. I mean, look at their logo!” Might how you talk about your organization (narrative aspect of your brand) and your logo (one piece of the visual aspect of your brand) resonate with a donor? You bet. But it’s that you are effectively speaking to what they care about through these things that makes their hearts go pitter pat.
What donors–and anyone else engaged with your organization–love is your cause and your mission. They care about what you do and how you do it (your mission) and why you do it (your cause). (Here’s more on the difference between cause and mission, if that last sentence made you furrow your brow.)
The word ‘brand’ is trendy. That’s fine. It risks ending up on the Banished Words list, but it’s fine.
What’s not fine is if you let its current celebrity status distract you from the whole point of having a clearly articulated brand–so people can connect with your cause and engage in our mission!
In Sum: Brand for brand’s sake is lame. Brand for the purpose of connecting with supporters who are passionate about your cause and lit up about your mission is awesome.
[DIY Moment: If you’d like some help figuring out your brand, here’s a free resource.]