Here's the formula for a form-perfect brand:
Brand = who you are + what you stand for + how you engage your community
Still not getting the math? Let me explain.
Who you are
This one is easy. After all, you’ve read your business plan many times; you may have even had a hand in writing it. But before you move ahead, you should check when the plan was written — and when it was last reviewed. Organizations continually evolve so your business plan needs to stay current and accurate. Feeling out of touch? Revisit your business plan and question each aspect to see if any factors, inside and outside the organization, have changed. How are you different from others in your field? Are your goals still the same? How has your target audience changed?
What you stand for
Perceptions of your organization’s mission and values may differ from person to person: staff, volunteers, clients, the community and media may have different ideas about what your brand stands for. The lesson here is not to take unspoken values for granted. You need to uncover how people see you. Do some research to figure out how your teams, volunteers, clients and suppliers each perceive your organization. Do they all have a similar idea of what your brand stands for? If they don’t, it’s time to re-examine things. Then, ask yourself: based on your competition and the needs of your clients and community, what should your brand represent?
How you engage your community
How do you connect to the outside world? To establish yourself in your community, you must engage your audience. This may sound easy, but to really do this effectively, you need to involve people in a way that’s driven by your brand’s identity and values. This may mean hosting special events, conducting an advertising campaign or inviting people to interact on your website or social networks — in a way that’s rewarding for them. Whatever the action, the goal is to engage your community.
Your brand doesn’t exist without all of the above: your unique identity, your deep-rooted values and your community relationships. All of these elements impact one another to create the driving force behind all of your organization’s marketing and communications campaigns.
Whether you’re a not-for-profit or a small business, your organization needs a personality to people can relate to. That’s really what a brand is all about.