Some organizations start and stop the branding process, or implement it some places and not others. What makes an organization really embrace a brand and use it to its fullest?
If you are thinking of rebranding, see how many of these factors apply to your organization. We aren't saying it won't work if you don't have all five. We are saying that it works best if these factors are in place. You may have to do some pre-work to get your organization ready to embrace the brand. Here are some common success factors for nonprofit brands.
1. Willingness to Learn
Does your organization value learning and insight, especially from those outside the agency? Are you willing to hear new opinions, and learn from current donors and program participants? Organizations that are most successful at this want to learn to brand better. They understand that they don't know it all.
2. Support from the Top
Good brands are formed through consensus from the bottom up, but are implemented best from the top down. Does your executive director and board value the need to build and support the brand? It needs to become a value within the organization, and leadership needs to take the lead on that.
3. A Trust in the Process
Branding is a lot like therapy — you need to look within and explore how staff, board, supporters and participants feel about the organization. It takes trust in the process that a consultant brings to the table, and a willingness to see the organization in a new way. When we are working with a client and feel a push against the process, we know that the organization may not be ready to embrace the brand. When organizations let us lead, and trust us to get them to a better place, we know they will be more willing to embrace the results.
4. Realistic Process Expectations
Branding takes time. It's not for fast fixes or for solving crisis situations. The process moves as quickly as your organization makes decisions, and if your group needs time to think things through, it will need time to develop the brand. Don't push the process for some arbitrary deadline. Take the time to make good decisions, because your organization will be living with them for a while.
5. Realistic Implementation Expectations
Implementing a brand takes time and money, and most nomprofits are short on both. Don't feel like in order to rebrand, you have to change everything at once. Keep focused on the big picture, and implement materials over time. When the letterhead runs out, reprint with the new branding. Tackle one project at a time, with the goal of having a cohesive look and feel throughout all materials.
Check out this example of successful branding: