December 23, 2008

If I hear one more person say “we’ve created a stronger brand” – and then he shows me the new logo, I’ll scream.

Oh…I already scream. And rant and rave.

A logo is NOT your brand.

A positioning statement is NOT your brand.

A plan to introduce your new website and new logo and wonderful positioning statement is NOT a branding plan.

You don’t brand yourselves. The audience brands you.

“Your brand is the promise you keep, not the one you make.” That’s from Kristin Zhivago in her book Rivers of Revenue: What to Do When the Money Stops Flowing.

Your brand is this: how a target audience feels about you.

“A brand,” says Marty Neumeier in The Brand Gap, his definitive book on the subject, “is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.”

Marty says a brand is a “gut feeling.” Your brand is how people feel about you. And that depends on their experiences with you. For example: How is your service? How satisfied am I with the quality of your product?

Hmmm… I feel giddy when I go into the Apple Store. Yes, just plain giddy. The energy in the store. The good service. The marvelous design. The Mac is so easy to use. So obvious. So transparent. And there are all those helpful people there who can solve my problems at no charge. I only buy Apple. I cannot imagine ever changing.

And I’m part of a group of Apple fanatics devoted to the company. Part of a group…

Neumeier goes on to say about that gut feeling: “We’re all emotional, intuitive beings, despite our best efforts to be rational. [And] in the end the brand is defined by individuals, not by [the company itself]…Each person creates his or her own version of [your brand]…When enough individuals arrive at the same gut feeling, a company can be said to have a brand.”

What’s your brand? It’s not what you’re promoting through your marketing plan or your print image or your newest ad. Your brand is not what you say it is. Your brand is what I say it is. Your brand is what your donors and clients and volunteers say about you.

You want a “good brand?” Then create a donor-centered and customer-centered organization. Develop a plan for that.

See the section on branding in Keep Your Donors. Read Neumeier’s book The Brand Gap.


Filed under: Nonprofit Management

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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