Branding and marketing are not synonymous. Great marketing – in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations – starts with strong and consistent branding, which is then reinforced by the organization’s people, programs, and communications. Think of it this way: a brand is an organization’s identity – the essence of what you are. This brand identity is sent out into the world through marketing communications and is influenced by every interaction or experience that constituents have with your organization.
Brands embody the strategic positioning of an organization – who you are, what you stand for, and how you are unique. Brands are based on mission and vision. Brands communicate characteristics, values and attributes such as honesty, reliability, empathy. It takes time and considerable planning to crystallize the brand promise – the universal, essential truth or value about your organization. From this brand promise, the additional branding elements are developed: including brand name, tagline, visual identity, typeface and tone of voice.
The importance of a strong brand must be emphasized. Strong brands are evident in all client, staff and stakeholder interactions – internally and externally. All marketing materials – from website and brochures to business cards – must communicate the brand. Strong nonprofit brands engender stakeholder loyalty – staff who stay longer and work harder; and clients, donors and volunteers who become ambassadors and advocates for the organization.
Branding is strategic. Marketing plans are also strategic, comprising goals, objectives, target segments and key messages. Graphic communications are executional and tactical. NESC utilizes its consultants from the advertising and marketing worlds to help clients successfully do the strategic work of developing brand identities and marketing plans. Our clients are then well-equipped to work with communication firms to translate their brand identities into marketing materials.
For more information, click this link to “The Art of Branding the Nonprofit Organization”, an NESC whitepaper by Ira Schwartz, formerly EVP and Global Managing Director of Darcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles. To meet with one of our expert branding consultants, click on the button below.
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.