NCM Network invites guest bloggers to share their expertise on the NCM Network Blog. This post was written by branding authority, Bill Ellis, who is dedicated to making good brands better. His philosophy is “Give exceptional value. Receive extraordinary results.” Whether as a coach, thought partner, speaker, or strategist, Bill commits his unique perspective, vast experience, and intuition to creating greater value for his clients. You can read more on Bill’s Blog and connect on Twitter at @WCEllis.
It may come as a surprise to you, but it’s 100% true that branding is more important for nonprofits than for-profit businesses. You may be thinking: “Why?” or “What?” or “Who is this guy?” All justified thoughts.
Let’s start by answering the question, “What is a brand?” Brands – and branding – are often misunderstood. Your brand is the sum of all of your intangible assets and traits. Simply put, your brand is your VALUE. It’s your promise to the public of what benefit they will receive by interacting with you.
It’s important to understand that the public defines your brand based on their perception, experience, and frame-of-mind. Here’s an example, what do you think of when you hear, see, or think about Apple, Nike, or your local bakery? Those thoughts are how you define those brands.
Your nonprofit’s tangible items including name, logo, tagline, website, and all other collateral are part of your brand messaging. Those are the elements which trigger thoughts of your brand – perceptions that you hope are clear, concise, and most important for a nonprofit, compelling.
Now, here’s the reason that branding is so important. An effective brand creates an emotional connection with the public – both those that it serves and those that it hopes to engage. Humans act out of emotion to some degree or another. The stronger the emotional connection, the more likely people are to take the hoped-for action.
Let’s return to the question, “Why is branding more important for nonprofits?” What nonprofits and for-profit businesses have in common is that each is attempting to generate profits – revenue if you prefer. Each wants the public to exchange some of their money for the promised value.
With for-profit businesses, this typically means the consumer receives something tangible in exchange for their dollars. The emotional connection is usually tied directly to some form of self-gratification in the form of wanted – or needed – goods or services.
When a consumer gives to a nonprofit, both the motive AND the benefit to the donor are based on emotion. Sure, there are times when something tangible is given as an incentive to give or a thank-you for donations – but the core transaction is based on feelings.
Money is limited for most of us. It can be a difficult choice between exchanging cash for something tangible (goods/services) vs. something intangible (positive feelings). Invest the time to discover your brand’s true value. Be certain that your message is clear, concise, and compelling. Finally, focus your efforts where there is the greatest relevance. By doing so, you will create powerful emotional connections and expand your base of loyal and committed supporters.
The views and opinions of authors expressed on NCM Network’s website do not necessarily reflect those of NCM Network. It is the intention of NCM Network to provide users with information to better understand PR, communications, social media, philanthropy, and more.