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Getting the Most out of Your Branding and Communications Efforts


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Regardless of where you are in terms of brand development, your brand must be actively managed (and if you’re not doing the management, your marketplace is doing it for you!).

This session is designed to help organizations of all types and sizes:
- Deliver on your brand…how to make sure that your board, staff, volunteers, etc. all can communicate and live your brand in a consistent, high impact manner.
- Communicate your brand…building and executing a cost-effective integrated communications plan.
- Measure success…how to know what’s working, and equally important, what’s not.

Published in: Business
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Getting the Most out of Your Branding and Communications Efforts

  1. 1. Getting the most out of your branding and marketing communications Michele Levy Use Twitter Hashtag #npweb Special Thanks To Our Sponsors
  2. 2. Helping ordinary people raise extraordinary amounts for nonprofits is all we do, and we love it. A Proud Sponsor of
  3. 3. Meet today’s speakers •  Presenter: Michele Levy, brand strategy consultant •  Hosting: Sam Frank, Synthesis Partnership •  Assisting with chat questions: Chris Dumas, FirstGiving
  4. 4. It’s a fact of (brand) life… Regardless of where you are in terms of brand development, your brand must be actively managed (and if you’re not doing the management, your marketplace is doing it for you!).
  5. 5. Agenda •  Delivering on your to make sure that your board, staff, volunteers, etc. all communicate and live your brand in a consistent, high impact manner. •  Communicating your brand…building and executing a cost-effective integrated communications plan.
  6. 6. A caveat Assuming that you have already built a strong foundation…that you: –  Are clear on how you want to be perceived –  Understand what your target audience segments need from you –  Understand what other resources you compete with for your audiences’ time, attention and affection
  7. 7. Delivering on your brand
  8. 8. "I reckon about 20 percent of a brand is its physical attributes, like a logo, color, letterheads. The rest is all about behavior. Employees bring a brand to life; they are its ultimate custodians.” -Ian Buckingham, Interbrand
  9. 9. “Internal branding is designed to instill employees with an organization’s brand vision and provide them with the tools to translate that vision to the customer.” (CMO Magazine) “Internal branding is the process of aligning day-to-day activities, business processes, job designs, and recognition & rewards with the brand identity to drive business results. It is part of a focused brand strategy that helps employees understand and integrate brand value(s) in their respective roles to ensure they can effectively deliver on the brand promise.” (Edelman, Inc.) “What goes on inside an organization is critical to any branding effort; the employees are the organization and embody the brand values. Without them, a brand is merely a hollow shell, and it will be obvious to the world that there’s nothing there to support it.” (Hampton Bridwell, branding consultant)
  10. 10. It’s not easy… •  Challenges of internal branding –  Getting people’s attention (and in some cases, just getting to them…think large volunteer or chapter-based orgs) –  Making the brand real for employees and other internal stakeholders: clients, board members, donors –  Balancing competing needs, initiatives and priorities –  Helping people understand the value of changing their ways –  Avoiding brand fatigue •  What’s fulfilling? –  Hearing when the message sticks, and when it inspires the appropriate response –  Having a real influence on the organization –  Seeing the concrete results of a strong brand and consistent brand behavior
  11. 11. A quick example… •  Ritz-Carlton's reputation represents "brand equity that has built up over the years, obviously, and a lot of it is defined by the service element that we offer.”* •  An increasingly competitive marketplace, even at the higher end of the market (boutique luxury hotels, excess inventory in many cities) •  Diminishing business travel budgets, decline in personal travel *Bruce Himelstein, Vice President, Marketing
  12. 12. “Putting on the Ritz” •  An empowered staff –  "Each person is responsible for finding and recording the preferences of individual clients…so that they can get things before the client even knows they need it. And each employee is empowered to break away from whatever they're doing if a client needs something. When you've built up that kind of culture over the years, it all starts to stick.” •  A consistent approach –  "The Ritz-Carlton Basics," is 20 “rules to live by” every single employee is expected to read, memorize and act upon –  The Three Steps of Service…Proffer a warm and sincere greeting, using the client’s name; anticipate and comply with all of the client’s needs; and offer a fond farewell, again using the client’s name. –  "Never lose a client," warns Basic (rule) No. 13. "Instant client pacification is the responsibility of each employee. Whoever receives a complaint will own it, resolve it to the client’s satisfaction and record it.”
  13. 13. And keeping it on… Ongoing training and reinforcement –  Annual training and certification required –  Collective responsibility for overall quality of experience (cleanliness, responsiveness, etc.)
  14. 14. A recent example from the nonprofit world
  15. 15. Some best practices •  Great PR coverage (just google it) •  A consistent set of talking points •  A comprehensive brand style guide •  Pre-launch and post-launch webinars •  Good balance of consistency and flexibility •  Ongoing support
  16. 16. So how can you do it???
  17. 17. Cover all the touchpoints •  Your brand perception results from every single experience or contact a person has with your organization. •  You build that brand perception on four key foundational elements: –  A set of relevant, consistent core messages; –  A visual brand identity (logo, fonts, color palette, imagery) that effectively (and efficiently) communicates the essence of your brand; –  An agreed-upon set of consistent brand behaviors; –  An integrated plan to communicate the brand across all touchpoints.
  18. 18. Provide a messaging and visual foundation •  Context (why we dedicate resources to building our brand) •  Goals/objectives (what we hope to accomplish through our marketing communications efforts) •  Competitive landscape (what other options do our supporters have?) •  Audience insights (who are we communicating with?) •  Brand promise (internal rallying cry) •  Elevator pitch (answer to the question “who are you?”) •  Proof points (reasons to believe that elevator pitch) •  Message matrix (approved versions of messages to be used as secondary points when talking with audience segments) •  Brand personality (what’s it like to interact with us?)
  19. 19. Provide a messaging and visual foundation •  Brand book •  Style guides/templates •  Samples of all creative
  20. 20. Translate brand attitudes into action Brand attitude (“”I WILL”) Employee actions (“I DO”) •  "I appreciate your •  Greet the client with business.” enthusiasm. Use the client's name. •  "I will devote my full •  Focus on the client. Stop other attention to your needs.” activities. Listen, and ask clarifying questions. •  "I will take ownership of •  Transfer the client no more your needs.” than once; the first transfer will own the issue. •  "I will be knowledgeable •  Provide the client with insight and professional.” and information to help him achieve his goals. •  "I will be responsive to •  Fulfill commitments in a timely your questions and fashion. Recognize that the requests." client's time is valuable.
  21. 21. OK… but how do you bring it to life??
  22. 22. Behind every strong brand, there’s a brand champion •  SOMEONE with the vision and clout to make it really happen…and keep it happening •  SOMEONE who owns the brand and cares passionately about its successful development and maintenance •  Probably not at the Executive Director level (although they have to clearly sponsor and support the effort) •  Requires a strong presence, effective negotiation skills, attention to detail, pragmatism and an understanding of how to pick your battles!
  23. 23. Use the brand champions in your midst •  Identify internal and external stakeholders who “get it” –  They epitomize the brand –  They are well-respected –  They are enthusiastic about the organization and brand –  They embrace change •  Let them lead at the local level –  Crucial part of the initial discovery process, rollout and ongoing measurement –  They understand and can help communicate context and relevance •  Say thank you, conspicuously –  Reinforces their positive impact –  Encourages others to do the same
  24. 24. Make brand matter •  Make a little noise… –  Take a moment: An event (staff meeting, offsite planning session, etc.) –  Share the tools: brand style guide, templates, FAQs –  Make it memorable: branded giveaway •  Maintain some volume… –  Brand training workshops –  Integrate into new hire orientation, etc. –  Incorporate brand updates into staff meetings, leadership team meetings, internal communications
  25. 25. The goal… everyone’s a brand champion •  Identify and “manage” naysayers –  Listen to them –  Respect their opinions –  Ignore them at your peril •  Help everyone understand their role as champions of the brand •  Give them the stories, factoids, etc. that best illustrate the brand •  Address issues as they arise
  26. 26. Remember to train your board •  They are some of your most passionate and connected supporters (at least they should be) •  Include them in the brand rollout •  Make regular reports on progress of the rollout and success against metrics
  27. 27. Give them the stories •  Framingham: A welcoming community (“where you start the American dream”) •  Framingham: The classic American middle-class town/the power of diversity •  Framingham: A vital crossroads •  Framingham: A tradition of volunteerism •  Framingham: An economic engine for the region •  Framingham’s place in the history of the nation
  28. 28. Build the brand through those stories Campinelli •  Framingham: A welcoming First Catholic church community (“where you start the Immigrants then and now American dream”) Refugees •  Framingham: The classic Academy American middle class town/the Clinton visit power of diversity •  Framingham: A vital crossroads Railways, water, highways •  Framingham: A tradition of Heart Study, militia, veterans volunteerism •  Framingham: An economic Mills; corporations then and now engine for the region “Creative economy” effort Bonnets •  Framingham’s place in the history of the nation
  29. 29. A quick sidebar on consistency •  Consistency = impact •  Think about it…if your communications are not consistent (look and feel, as well as tone and messaging), you are reintroducing yourself every single time •  There is room for variety, for versioning by type of product, by audience, etc. –  But there has to be a master plan! •  Consistency is NOT boring for your stakeholders –  One of the biggest mistakes organizations make? They get bored with their brand and want to change it
  30. 30. Critical success factors •  Help people connect the dots to the bigger picture…Why are we doing this? How will it impact the organization? •  Make it relevant to them…Why it is important to me that we have a strong, visible brand? •  Reassure them that this does not mean a change in the mission (unless, of course, it does) •  Make it easy to “do it the right way” and hard to “do it the wrong way” •  Keep it top of mind •  Keep it coming from the top •  Show you mean it (correct brand misbehaviors, consider killing off an effort that’s clearly not on brand, etc) •  Be consistent…but adapt as organizational goals and external factors change. And never adapt in a vacuum. •  Pick your battles. Carefully. •  Measure, recognize, reward. •  Brand never sleeps.
  31. 31. For example… Why does brand matter to you and your staff? •  Efficiency: faster to create the communications tools you already need to create (no need to make it up every time!) •  Impact: a strong master brand, and clear linkage between your services and that master brand, allows you to build greater prominence for your services •  Focus: like an effective mission, a strong brand can help staff stay focused on what’s most important to the organization •  Momentum: the strongest brands become increasingly compelling to those most important to you
  32. 32. Communicating your brand (the abridged version)
  33. 33. Now tell your brand story… •  An effective communications plan is: –  Targeted….you’re not wasting money reaching people not in your target audience –  Holistic…”surrounding” that target with a variety of media likely to reach them –  Compelling….with a strong call to action –  Integrated….reflected across all your touchpoints –  Measurable…grounded in strategic goals and evaluated against those goals
  34. 34. Sample: Plan table of contents •  Brand blueprint (elevator pitch, message matrix, proof points, brand attributes, etc.) •  Target audience (who your audience segments are, their needs and expectations) •  Competitive landscape (a brief overview of alternative options available to your served populations and supporters) •  Communications goals (what you want your activities to accomplish) •  Communications strategies (the high level ways you plan to accomplish your goals) •  Communications tactics (specific activities you will engage in, with timing) •  Measurement and evaluation (how you plan to track results) •  Budget •  Editorial calendar •  Communications calendar
  35. 35. SAMPLE: Communications strategies Leverage the opening Continue to build the (and related activities) relationship with those PHASE I to re-engage with who re-engage as a current stakeholders result of opening activities Leverage exhibits and Continue to build the PHASE II re-installation to begin relationships… to engage with new: New stakeholders from current audiences, as well as new audiences June - September October - December Spring semester Ongoing Brand awareness activities (buzz)
  36. 36. Sample: Marketing communications tactics Leverage opening celebration (and related Continue to build the relationship with those activities) to re-engage with current who re-engage as a result of opening activities PHASE I stakeholders Print collateral eNewsletter (3x/year, all) NOTE: throughout, make TACTICS Invitations to opening with targeted phone follow up eBlasts (as relevant, all) Guide to the Reinstallation Events every effort to track results in Flyers/posters Museum printed piece (replaces order to have a better Friends of Art brochure Calendar of Events, ready to mail understanding of what’s E-collateral October) Evite working, and what’s not (and e-flyers to adjust tactics as e-flyer for Family Day necessary). Each tactic will Signage (decisions to be made) Kiosk support a different tracking Banner/windows mechanism: Sandwich boards •  Track press success with Plasma Screen Campus Center signage press clips Media •  Track print advertising and Paid media (see page 18) arts calendar via data Press Releases Calendar Listings collection with on-site events E-communications form. Newsletters, as appropriate •  Track events listing via click Other Personal attendance at meetings with targeted academic, through to web site (make administration and union sure event is listed on site!) Letter writing campaign to targeted groups First – Year Orientation Aug 27 June - September October - December Ongoing Brand awareness activities (buzz)
  37. 37. If you do nothing else…
  38. 38. How do I know it’s working?
  39. 39. Well….what were your goals? •  Clarify your success metrics (tangible and intangible) •  Tie the metrics to strategic goals •  Think broadly and creatively (e.g. visitor traffic, referral volume, inbound inquiries, hits to Web site) •  Set reasonable timeframes, based on communications volume and timing •  Measure against your own baseline, as well as industry benchmarks •  Keep the dialogue going internally and externally –  Understanding and acceptance of brand, messaging, communications tactics, etc. •  Track what works and what doesn’t, then refine as appropriate