Here are ten principles to consider as you go about defining and communicating your brand. Offered by marketer Max Kalehoff, they distill neatly what others take books to say.

As a nonprofiteer, whether you think of your organization as being in the brand-building business or not, you are. Because, regardless of what you consciously do or don't do, your stakeholders are busily at work building your brand for you … and more importantly, for themselves.

To simplify their lives, they are forming impressions of your nonprofit, emotional and rational (in that order), and combining those into a shorthand filter that they'll use, often unconsciously, to welcome or resist future interactions with you.

Recognizing that your customers (current and potential donors, activists and other stakeholders) have the upper hand, still, following Max's principles, you can certainly have some impact on how favorably or not this branding process turns out.

Here are his principles:

1. Transparency2. Authenticity
3. Humility

[These first three are all about earning trust.]

4. Simplicity

[Make it easy on yourself and your stakeholders.]

5. Inspiring
6. Personality
7. Stories

[Above all else, a “brand” is a relationship grounded in some emotional connection. These three principles are at the root of building the relationship.]

8. Consistency

[Brand critics love inconsistency. And there's nothing that online brand critics like to communicate more than inconsistency (read: hypocrisy).]

9. Flexibility

[Be ready to adapt based on feedback from primary stakeholders. But, don't try to be all things to all people.]

10. Receptivity

[As Max points out, you need to listen carefully to implement well the other principles. But in addition, the perception (based on reality) that a brand does “listen” is fast becoming a mandatory ingredient for a successful brand of any kind.

Apply these ten principles to your nonprofit. How well do you score?

Tom

This article was posted in: Nonprofit branding, Nonprofit management.
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