When you consider the word “branding,” what comes to mind? You may think of well-known companies like Apple or Target, that advertise on a large scale and whose characteristics are immediately recognizable to most of us, who come into frequent contact with them.
But the concept of branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for large companies. And, it’s an essential piece of increasing awareness for nonprofits as well.
The obvious reason for nonprofit organizations to spread awareness of their brand is to increase donations and build a reliable donor base. However, according to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, many nonprofits are stepping up their brand management in order “to explore the wider, strategic roles that brands can play: driving broad long-term social goals, while strengthening internal identity, cohesion, and capacity.”
Why Should You Build a Brand?
Like any other entity, your nonprofit has a unique set of goals, characteristics, and stories. When you bring these together to form a recognizable and repeatable persona, you have a brand. The first thing most people think of when they hear the word brand or branding, is an entity’s logo. While this is one branding element, it’s only the beginning. The style, graphics, and words your organization uses to communicate all convey your brand.
The place: a recent introductory meeting with the newly-hired Marketing Director of a local established and respected mid-sized company.
The topic: the state of the company’s marketing collateral.
This is a good-sized business selling big ticket services that regularly invoice in the $100,000 to $1M range. Yet, you would never perceive this when handed one of their business cards or company brochures.
The firm was seemingly still holding on to their start days, when print collateral was designed in-house using Microsoft Word, then printed on the company copier. That may have been appropriate and practical then. But given the size and capabilities of the company now, the state of their print collateral imparts a huge perception gap on the brand. This company was attempting to continue to grow business and generate leads. However, the amateurism of their branded handouts did not match the professionalism of their work.
When asked about the details of the paper stock you are choosing for a print project, do your eyes glaze over? Do terms like basis weight, points, and color cast sound like Greek to you? If so, here is a quick list of basic terms to help you better understand the process.