Why Organizations Need To Brand

Although most of the most successful corporations have realized how important branding is to their success, very few non profit organizations have addressed their need to brand, and how doing so would be quite beneficial. Having consulted to hundreds of organizations in the last more than thirty years, I have come to realize that the organizations that remain strongest are those who both address the needs of their members and supporters, as well as effectively communicating their message, and keeping it out there in front of their niche audience. Anyone who doubts the importance of branding should simply observe how major companies, such as Nike, Target, and many others, have used their brand to maintain and strengthen their identity and marketing.

1. Branding is the creation and development of your organization's identity and establishment of recognition, as well as continuously reminding supporters of your relevance. Some items that come into play regarding branding include: a logo (but one that tells a story or message); images (including pictures, videos, websites, etc.); slogans (catchy and easy to remember, clever, relevant, and compelling); ideas and other information connected to why your group is worthy of someone's support. We often hear and witness organizations refer to branding as a philosophical concept or some sort of rhetorical exercise, but true branding requires a fully thought- out action plan that relates to the organizations strategic plan and mission.

2. Branding should accomplish many important tasks for an organization that wishes to garner the support of others. An organization's brand should differentiate it from others and point out its unique features and values. How an organization brands itself has a major impact on its ability to attract others. This concept should also both create excitement and be easy to remember. One of the most essential aspects for successful branding is to always relate the branding efforts to the organization's mission.

3. It is not enough to simply do part of this. For example, a great logo has limited impact if it is not an essential part of a comprehensive marketing plan. All branding efforts must aim to motivate others to both action, as well as make them more receptive to placing a higher value on belonging to, and supporting the specific group and its mission. Leaders must remember that in today's world, there is much competition for attention and donor support, and the branding effort must be used effectively to keep the group's visibility in the foreground, and thus provide itself a competitive advantage.

Branding must be part of an organization's overall strategic planning efforts. Leaders must realize that even the greatest organizations with the most important and relevant missions, will soon lose support if it does not address the concept of perceived value, and branding is an essential component of that effort.