Brands build reputation through the lasting impressions their products and services leave on customer audiences. Recognizing the importance of brand development and using consistent messaging can help your organization deepen its relationships with donors and supporters.
By launching eye-catching campaigns that capture audiences from around the world, nonprofit organizations like Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity and the World Wildlife Fund have been successful at establishing themselves as 'charity brands.' By creating stories, messages, and campaigns that are easy for donors to digest and share, they can easily captivate online audiences.
What Is Brand Development?
Brand development is a process of translating an organization's values and vision into meaningful content to fortify relations with new and existing audiences. In other words, it is the process of:
Aligning your brand strategy with your organizational objectives.
Developing the tools you need to communicate the brand to your target audiences.
Strengthening newly developed or updated brands through brand management.
So, Where to Start?
Creating a strong and recognizable brand does not happen overnight. It takes time and nurturing to make your brand resonate with audiences.
The following are some key areas you should know about when embarking on a branding journey.
1. Brand Audit
The first step is to understand the environment surrounding your brand. Through an in-depth analysis, also known as a brand audit, you can learn more about the wider landscape in which your brand will be performing in. The audit explores such things as:
The market’s perception and reputation of the brand
The market value of the brand
New market opportunities and innovations impacting the brand
Outside risks and threats to the brand
Competitors in the same area as your brand
Essentially, a brand audit serves as a health check to keep your brand fresh and up-to-date. It’s a tool you can use to understand what’s happening with your brand, especially when profits and sales are waning.
2. Brand Strategy
Once the brand audit is done, you can start putting together all the information for your brand’s long-term plan, also known as a ‘brand strategy.'
To create your brand strategy, start by outlining:
Your brand’s target customers
Your brand’s main competitors
Your brand’s product/service mix
Your brand’s unique selling proposition
Once these key marketing components have been established, you can start asking questions about the feelings and behaviours that are unique to your brand. For instance:
How is your brand different from other brands and why should potential customers come to you?
What are the promises your brand is making through its products and interactions with audiences?
What emotions should your brand evoke, and why?
We must not forget that a brand is an untouchable ideal brought to life by products, services, people, places, and experiences. By understanding and appealing to customers’ emotional and physical needs, it will be easier for audiences to embrace and relate to your brand.
3. Brand Identity
A brand identity looks at how all the visual elements of a brand come together to reinforce the overall branding strategy. This includes such elements as your brand’s name, logo, tagline, slogan, website, style guides, and marketing materials.
Consistency in your brand identity is critical. By ensuring that all elements work well together and in synchronicity, it will be easier for your audience to distinguish your cause from other causes.
If you're unsure what steps to take next, seek help from a brand development professional that is willing to take the time to learn about your brand, and knows how to effectively engage with your market.