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Big brand thinking for small charities - Small charities communications conference, 11 July 2018


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Alexander Scott, brand and content consultant

Visit the CharityComms website to view slides from past events, see what events we have coming up and to check out what else we do:

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Big brand thinking for small charities - Small charities communications conference, 11 July 2018

  1. 1. Big brand thinking for small charities
  2. 2. Because Apple is the clearest example of how a brand goes way beyond product. It creates relevance, affinity and support. When treated properly, your brand is your biggest business asset. It can affect your bottom line more than anything else Warning. This deck uses Apple as an example of awesome brand strategy.
  3. 3. What is a brand?
  4. 4. NOT BRANDS These are not brands. These are logos and brand names and brand colours and fonts which are all part of the brand IDENTITY. But they are nowhere near the whole brand. If only it were that easy. The trouble with brands is you’re only partly in control of it because...
  5. 5. Your brand is what someone feels and thinks about you Takeout #1
  6. 6. 1. what connects you as an organisation to the outside world and those who work for you, support you, use your services, volunteer for you and advocate on your behalf 2. based on the experience someone has with any and every part of your organisation through any and every touchpoint 3. a person’s perception created by them in their own minds and hearts 4. the idea of you, the thought of you, the memory of you, the feeling of you within your audience Your brand is...
  7. 7. Therefore you’re never going to have full control of your brand because it’s made by the mind and heart and gut of your audience as much as it by you
  8. 8. Decisions are made on an emotional level
  9. 9. FACT
  10. 10. That’s why your brand has to tell a compelling, engaging, human story
  11. 11. Take Metrobank for example. Metrobank wear their brand on their sleeve, making sure a positive customer experience is central to their proposition. It differentiates them from the other high street banks and shows they are responding to customer demands. Ideas like opening more branches, longer opening hours, a friendly welcome, children’s play areas and dog friendly branches shows they’re a modern, progressive and above all human organisation. This all plays into how they are viewed, what people feel about Metrobank. It’s a clear brand statement and brand position. It makes them memorable, it makes them different, it makes them stand out and it makes them relevant. This is what your brand is for: to build awareness, understanding, salience, differentiation and affinity.
  12. 12. RyanAir’s another great example - they don’t trade on anything but being the cheapest - this is their brand position. You can have the most uncomfortable flight and end up miles from your final destination and wait hours trying to get through to customer service but it doesn’t matter, because they only trade on the fact they’re the cheapest. What their brand is about is crystal clear. They’re being honest and authentic and relevant and responding to consumer demands. You might not choose it, but you’re clear on what the brand offer is. And this clarity means people spend less time trying to work out what they’re about and whether or not they’re right for them.
  13. 13. And it doesn’t just apply to large organisations. Charity: water has only just launched in the UK with 2 staff but they have a great understanding of the UK charity sector and what audiences want to see. They’ve very clearly focused on the impact they make in the field and complete transparency around financials and project costs. For example, they’ve integrated Google Maps and back end data into their website so you can see real time how well their field projects are performing, things like uptime, maintenance, usage etc, which means you already trust the brand more because you feel assured your money is going to the people that need it.
  14. 14. And it’s not about being good or ethical or the best - it’s about being clear and consistent and different. Humans want to connect to something and see themselves and their belief system played back to them. That’s why a major part of branding is being true to who you are and how you operate. That’s why when Trump says something no other politician could ever get away with, it just strengthens his base support - because that’s his brand and that’s why people buy into him.
  15. 15. Brand value: net worth - tangible assets And just to illustrate why it’s worth investing in your brand, let’s look at Apple again. Apple is valued at $869bn. But its tangible assets - stuff it can sell like equipment, property and products - are only worth $33bn, so the rest of that worth is brand equity, which has been built up over nearly 50 years. $836bn of stuff you can’t touch.
  16. 16. “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room” Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder, Amazon (worth $105bn)
  17. 17. What impacts on your brand?
  18. 18. What impacts on your brand? ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
  19. 19. Everything you do impacts on your brand Takeout #2
  20. 20. For example, Nike want everyone to think of them as empowering the world to release their inner athlete whilst at the same time enabling the world’s top sportspeople to fulfil their natural skills
  21. 21. But because of decisions around production, workers’ rights and employment strategy, they’re still dogged by an image of being ruthless, capitalist bastards and employing kids in sweatshops.
  22. 22. Oxfam want to portray a brand focussed on pulling communities out of poverty
  23. 23. But all anyone thinks of at the moment is the Haiti sex scandal. Your brand tells people who you are and what you stand for - if what you are in real life runs counter to that, then you’re in trouble. This can be as simple as poorly produced printed material with a stretched logo, but most people will be pretty forgiving about that - the bigger problem is when you fundamentally act in a way that goes against what people think and feel about you.
  24. 24. The good news is, it works both ways. Unilever, who were traditionally seen as a monolithic and uncaring corporate monster has spent a lot of time and money and effort in creating a very credible CSR programme and finding and articulating a deep altruistic purpose that delivers on a triple bottom line (economic, social, environmental). They have demonstrated real commitment to their cause and it’s done wonders for their brand
  25. 25. Consistency and clarity are crucial Takeout #3 You need to be clear in who you are, why you are and how you are different and you need to be clear at every single point where someone can interact with you. Be it the customer service contact centre, the website, the PR coverage, the nurses, the fundraising volunteers, the job description - it all has to feel like it’s coming from the same place and that place has to be clearly defined and clearly communicated. This is why your identity is a very small part of the brand story.
  26. 26. Macmillan are a great example. When they rebranded 10 years ago they were ruthless about developing an incredibly clear brand proposition (Macmillan cancer support) and implementing it absolutely consistently across all their services, communications, internal teams and the partners they worked with.
  27. 27. And even though they’re still number 1 in the charity brand index, they’ve decided to keep developing the brand and brand story to make sure it’s relevant, engaging and representative of who they are. This is a good example of how a big change to a brand story doesn’t mean a big change to an identity. Hopefully you’re seeing your brand is more than your logo...
  28. 28. And this definitely isn’t about budget, it doesn’t matter who you are or how much you’re worth or how much branded estate you have, you can all have a brand that is clear about who you are and what you stand for. And you can all make sure it’s implemented with consistency. Help for Heroes were a tiny campaign when they first started but their brand, through their story, their proposition, their brand character, visual identity, PR strategy and celebrity associations made it clear who they are, what they stand for and how they’re different.
  29. 29. You wouldn’t delivery services without a strategy or conduct research or fundraise or run an organisation It doesn’t matter who you are - because everyone has a brand, everyone should have a brand strategy. Remember...
  30. 30. so why doesn’t everyone have a brand strategy?
  31. 31. Everyone should have a brand strategy Takeout #4
  32. 32. There’s lots of different things you can add into a brand strategy and because agencies can make money by pretending they know more than you, there’s lots of different names for the same thing. But if you don’t have anything else you should have the following:
  33. 33. 1. Brand story 2. Proposition 3. Positioning statement 4. Essence 5. Character
  34. 34. 1. Brand story Let’s start with your brand story - it’s literally that, a quick, 1-2 sides of who you are, where you came from, what your vision is and why, your mission statement is and why, what you’re doing to make the mission successful and how you’re relevant to your audience - not just in terms of your service offering but why you’re doing it. It’s articulating what drives you.
  35. 35. Apple has a fantastic brand story: “Apple is more than just a company because its founding has some of the qualities of myth. Apple is two guys in a garage undertaking the mission of bringing computing power, once reserved for big corporations, to ordinary individuals with ordinary budgets. The company's growth from two guys to a billion-dollar corporation exemplifies the American Dream. Even as a large corporation, Apple plays David to IBM's Goliath, and thus has the sympathetic role in that myth.” And from their Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive: “What people are responding to is much bigger than the object. They are responding to something rare; a group of people who do more than simply make something work, they make the very best products they possibly can. It's a demonstration against thoughtlessness and carelessness”
  36. 36. 2. Proposition Sometimes called your value proposition, what is it that your organising is proposing to the world that will make life better for your “customers”. You need to think about your proposition from the point of view of your supporters - why should they give you their time or money or effort?
  37. 37. SAVE MONEY, LIVE BETTER BEAT CANCER, SOONER For example, ASDA’s is “save money, live better”. Clear, simple, attractive. It’s showing the value that people will get if they spend money with ASDA. They will save money and they will live better. CRUK’s is just as simple. Give us money and we will beat cancer sooner. Neither one of these talk about what they do, ASDA aren’t saying “buy our groceries”. CRUK don’t mention research. They focus on the VALUE that their proposition gives the audience. Beating cancer. Saving money. Living better.
  38. 38. 3. Positioning We’re talking here about the position you want to take in the market against your competitors. And even if you’re the only charity who does what you do, you have competitors. There are other brands out there who people can choose to give their time and money and effort to rather than you. You’re always competing against what else people can devote their time to, that’s why it’s imperative to tell a strong, compelling story.
  39. 39. For (target audience), (your brand) is the only (frame of reference) that (benefits delivered) because (reasons to believe) A good way to start is to use this template. For example, Anthony Nolan’s positioning statement is “If you want to help people with blood cancer live longer, healthier lives, Anthony Nolan is the only charity that can deliver a second chance of life for because we’ve got 40 years experience in research, innovation and support”
  40. 40. Alexander Scott Consulting And once you’ve got it agreed, you can use it to help shape all your copy and remain consistent across all your platforms, however unusual they are
  41. 41. 4. Essence The one single concept that you want to plant inside people’s hearts and brains and stomachs so when they think of you, they think of your essence. And this isn’t category recognition, because that doesn’t drive loyalty, it’s about going to that emotional, intangible place that makes people want to choose you over anyone else. It’s about understanding what’s that essential, authentic connection that pulls people to you and keeps them there. Essentially, it’s...
  42. 42. When I think of [your brand], I think of ____
  43. 43. When I think of CRUK, I think of cure
  44. 44. When I think of Netflix, I think of choice
  45. 45. When I think of John Lewis, I think of quality
  46. 46. When I think of Coppafeel I think of action
  47. 47. When I think of [your brand], I think of ____ So, what is your essence? And is that true to who you are, what you do and how and why you do it?
  48. 48. 5. Character If your charity were a person, what kind of personality would they have? And this has to be authentic to HOW you operate, not WHAT you do, for example, Breast Cancer Now and Breast Cancer Care are both there to improve the lives of people with breast cancer and it doesn’t matter that one is research focused and the other care focused, the fact is they project themselves very differently.
  49. 49. The Anthony Nolan brand very much mirrors the character of Shirley Nolan, Anthony’s mother who founded the blood cancer register in 1974 - she was tenacious, outspoken, well informed, challenging, resourceful and loud (when she needed to be) - and that’s exactly how the organisation tries to conduct itself.
  50. 50. What is your character? Are you authoritative, informal, serious, assertive, collaborative, reserved, ambitious, intellectual, down to earth? You need to think about what you do, what you say and how you say it. Again, at the end of the day, it has to be authentic to who you are, this is the best way to increase trust.
  51. 51. Where to put your effort - research: - talk to your staff, volunteers, supporters and trustees about what makes you, you and why people support you and what would make people support you more. You are sitting on so much insight it’s incredible and it’s usually incredibly easy to get to and make use of. You need to base everything in good, solid insight otherwise it won’t be authentic to who you are as an organisation
  52. 52. Where to put your effort - creative and testing: - come up with a set of different ideas to test. This is part science, part art, so you need to spend time on how you articulate succinctly but emotively who and why you are, what difference you make, why it’s vital people support you and why you’re the best people to fulfil your mission
  53. 53. Where to put your effort - planning and action: - don’t just create a document. Your brand strategy sits at the same level as your organisational strategy, in fact it’s the outward facing side of the same coin. It needs to be used to direct all your other outward facing strategies as much as your org strategy, so make sure it’s brought alive through your planning
  54. 54.
  55. 55. 11 July 2018 London #CCsmallcharity Small charities communications conference
  56. 56. Visit the CharityComms website to view slides from past events, see what events we have coming up and to check out what else we do: