I’m sitting on a train. I’m very tired. The train is 1.5 hours late. I want to be in bed with a novel. I did a bunch of client and volunteer work.
Now I’m looking back in my own blog archives to see if there’s something that motivates me at this very tired moment.
The other day I was listening to some remarks about branding. Here is how I felt!
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 campaign.
You don’t brand yourselves. The audience brands you. (Just like those little calves that get branded on their fannies. Someone else did it!)
“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 how a target audience feels about you.
“A brand,” says Marty Neumeier in his book The Brand Gap says, “[Brand] is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.”
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. And check out Seth Godin‘s blogs about branding.