Branding your organization is probably the most difficult task you’ll ever have to do. A brand is an extremely important factor in the success of any organization, or entity. Just because you’re a nonprofit, tiny museum or school, doesn’t mean your brand isn’t important. Without it, you’re basically unknown. Invisible, really.
So, what exactly is a brand? To put it simply, it’s your organization’s distinctive identity, almost as if it were a person. This identity is an unspoken marketer telling people what you’re about and the value its services will bring.
What are you waiting for? It’s time for you to unleash your brand to the world.
Defining Your Brand
First things first, you must go on a journey of self (or company) discovery. Try to understand your organization’s values and then define its brand. To do so, you should think about some of the following questions:
- What’s your organization passionate about? What are its core values?
- What are its goals?
- What is your current/ product, service or offerings?
- What’s your current reputation to your audience and competitors? What do people say about you?
- How do you want to be perceived by others?
- Who is the audience for your brand?
However, the key question is, what differentiates your organization from others? It’s what makes it special that will attract attention and make an emotional connection with your targeted audience, leaving a good lasting impression.
If you’re stuck, try to get advice from your own mission statement, draw ideas from your organization’s history, or write down adjectives that best describe it. Combine all of your answers to create a coherent brand character, one with a story. This personality should encompass what you stand for, what you promise, and who you are in relation to the rest of your market (also known as your brand archetype).
Integrating Your Brand
Branding efforts may begin with the the people closest to you, but it is not enough if only your internal team is aware of its brand. Now it’s time to relay it to the world! To help you, here are a few steps you can take to start implementing your brand:
Create a logo. The logo is often the audience’s first look into your company. Make a decision whether or not you want to include a symbol. If the answer is yes, design a logo with text and one without. Also, research the meanings of different shapes and colors. If your organization wants to be known as welcoming, choose warmer colors like a muted orange or peach.
Write a slogan/tagline. Make sure the message is meaningful. Keep it short and sweet. Popular examples of effective taglines are Nike’s “Just Do It” and McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it.” Another good example of a slogan is from Anderson Tax (formerly WTAS)- “A name from the past. A firm for the future.” All in one line, the company capitalizes on the company’s name recognition and promises to stick to its core values in making the future brighter for its customers.
Pick a design theme for all your promotional materials and social media platforms. Translating your brand into a color scheme and font family can be very abstract. Use your answers from the questions before to help you and pull colors from your logo and pair it with styles that compliment them. If you can’t design it on your own, you can always get web design resources from sites like WordPress or ThemeForest.
Produce quality content. Content is what really matters. It is the most important reflection of your brand and resonates the most with your readers. If everything else is a work in progress, make sure the content you put out embodies the company’s personality.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Be Consistent. Your brand should be present on all outlets, whether it be on social media or through sales reps. A consistent brand shows authenticity, which people appreciate! A great example of brand translation is Brand Camp by Kristen Kalp.
- Focus on your mission. Although you have to take into account market environment and the opinions of everyone else, you should still focus on the goals of your org when coming up with your brand. It is never too late to rebrand as well.
- Branding is not just about appearance. Remember that it carries over into daily company actions and how employees interact with customers.
- Everyone needs a brand. When people think of branding, large companies come to mind first. However, it is just as important for small business and nonprofits to get their name out there as well. An example of a small nonprofit that has an amazing logo, website and social media presence is the Design Museum in Boston.
Developing a brand is so crucial in improving an organization (both internally and externally) and spreading awareness about your company. If anything, a visually appealing logo and marketing materials will definitely gain you more viewers.
What are you waiting for? The world is ready for you.