Have you ever considered what your brand says about your nonprofit organization? Is it identifiable? Is it effective? When thinking about your nonprofit's brand, it's important to realize that a brand encompasses so much more than a logo and graphic design. It is your identity as an organization. It's what comes to mind when people hear your name, and it's the personality behind all of your communications. Have you effectively branded your organization? Follow these four steps to ensure your branding is successful.
Step 1: Define Your Brand.
This may seem obvious, but it's the most critical step in the process. If you were to identify your nonprofit brand in two or three sentences, what would you say? What information would you include? Your brand goes beyond what you do, and states who you are. Think of your brand as a person. How would you describe him or her? What type of emotion do you aim to elicit in your audience when they hear your brand name, or when they think of your organization? Once you can clearly define the identity of your organization, it becomes much easier to promote this identity among your constituents.
Step 2: Aim For Consistency
Whether you're creating a post for your blog, or sending out an email newsletter, consistency is key in all of your channels of communication. Mixed messages can at best create confusion among your audience and at worst, cause them to question your credibility. Not only do you want to be consistent in the messages you send and the content you promote, but you also want to be consistent in your use of color, images, and typography. As important as it is to create a consistent look among your online and offline communications, it's even more important to be sure your messages carry the same tone of voice. You may have several writers who contribute to the content you create, but their voices should all match the personality communicated in your brand. Finally, it's important to consistently communicate your overall mission. Every piece of content you create should draw readers back to your ultimate mission and show them how you're accomplishing it.
Step 3: Establish Written Guidelines
As your organization grows, and more and more people become involved with the dissemination of your content, it's important to have a set of written guidelines as to how your branding should be used. For example, when is it appropriate to use an inverse logo? When is it appropriate to use a serif or sans serif font? What should headings look like in a typical newsletter? By streamlining your design and making sure all of your publications adhere to the same look, you can promote recognition among your constituents.
Step 4: Be Relatable and Engaging.
When thinking about the voice behind your brand, it's important to review your messages - whether they're shared through a written post, a video, an image, or a tweet - to ensure the message is both engaging and relatable for your constituents. In other words, make sure the content you're creating is content that readers or viewers would want to share. If you are passionate about your mission, your enthusiasm will oftentimes come across in the way you present stories about that mission. Be sure all of your communications present an equal level of enthusiasm, that will cause followers to take notice and choose to share.