This is part 3 of 3 from our April Roundtable: Leveraging Your Marketing Dollars to Increase Fundraising Success

Decorating The Outside: Building a Cohesive Brand Identity

What is a brand? It’s not just your logo, tagline, or a particular graphic. These items are all parts of your brand, but not where it starts. A brand is whatever you are communicating to anyone – your clients, board, employees, and the public. This includes your logo, website, donor appeals, newsletters, and brochures, as well as a few things you might not think about like your phone greeting – is it a consistent friendly person that your audience grows to recognize, or is it a recording? What about your office presentation? Is it professional and clean? Even your staff dress code can have an effect on what people think about your organization.

Your brand happens, whether it’s deliberate or not. It’s an effective way to differentiate yourself from others, and it becomes your organizations personality. When done correctly, your brand becomes who you are.  A strong brand works FOR you, and a weak or inconsistent brand is at best neutral; at worst, a liability.

What does a brand do for you? A good brand creates instant recognition. Consider the logos of Mercedes, McDonald’s, and Nike. You recognize these brands instantly without any text indication of who they are. Does your audience have the same recognition for you?  A brand also cuts through the clutter, inspires trust, and conveys professionalism. Are your materials created in house, or do you hire a professional designer? Do you have several people proof read your work, or just the person designing it?  Believe it or not, the person putting a piece together is often so immersed in the project that the small details get away from them, like spelling and grammar!

Does it seem like an expensive, daunting task to hire someone and create an entirely new library of materials? Of course. But with the right tools and knowledge, your designer can help cut through some of the expensive items and help build the cohesion that your organization should have. And keep in mind, building your brand happens over time. Once the initial templates are in place, like a speaker series postcard, it becomes very inexpensive and easy to make changes to use that same piece over and over.  Ultimately you should make the investment and carry it through. You will eventually be able to do much more, with much less.

Content provided by Julie Hordyk of Mind Over Marketing.
Visit Julie’s website to learn more about ways she can help your organization!