Brand Identity

What Is Brand Identity? A Quick-Start Guide for Nonprofits and Social Enterprises

When you think of all the brands you know, love, and trust, remember that there is a strategicbranding process behind each one. No brand came into existence and succeeded by accident or fluke. Rather, organizations lay a foundation for success by clearly defining their brands through very intentional processes. Dive in to explore how you can implement strong branding practices to scale your impact and grow your organization’s reach.

1. Do Your Research

Deciding what your brand represents involves some research. Examine the field of similar organizations and ask:

  • What is the need? In other words, who needs our product or service and what problem(s) do we solve for them?
  • Who are our competitors – what other organizations, companies, or institutions are doing what we are doing? What do we admire about them and what are they handling poorly? What is their messaging?
  • Why are we different? Why are we better?

You can also take notes from brands you admire that aren’t necessarily in your industry. How does their brand make you feel? What do you associate with them? Brands can hold a lot of power over our purchasing decisions -- for example, buying a certain make of car because you want to be known as the type of person who drives that kind of car, or drinking a certain brand of soda, tea, or coffee because you relate to what the company stands for.

Another tool that will help you build your brand is your story. The origin story of your organization  — what inspired its formation, who had the vision, and what got it off the ground — are all opportunities for branding. Potential customers will connect with you when you build a brand from a genuine place and develop a narrative that can carry you into the future. There may even be some traces of these beginnings that influence your organization today. Use these stories to connect with and create a sense of familiarity with your target market.

2. Articulate Brand Values

From there, consider what values are important to your organization. You can think of these as pillars that rise up from the foundation to support the work you do. An easy way to get some ideas flowing is to create a list of adjectives that describe your organization. Some of them may very deeply reflect the aspects that are the most important to convey to the market. Others may aptly describe the organization but may at the same time be things you want to steer away from. Be honest in your analysis and use this as an opportunity to “retire” some of the adjectives that may be true in the present but that will interfere with your success in the future.

3. Craft Your Mission / Positioning Statement

At this stage, you should also begin drafting a mission statement and/or positioning statement that will guide both your internal and external marketing. Whenever you share a message with your team or with the public, it should align with that mission statement and point back to it in a direct or indirect way. Keeping it as a guiding light will make marketing decisions quicker and allow you to home in on your brand’s voice effectively. The goal is to maintain consistency in your messaging, which in turn will build trust and strengthen your brand.

Learn More

We can simplify your branding journey and guide you through our comprehensive branding process that starts with research and sets the stage for impactful marketing. Build authentic connections with your clients and community and grow your brand.

Contact us to get started.

Photo credit: Nik Shuliahin via Unsplash