Thursday, March 6, 2008

Branding... Your image can take a hit from myths

By now, the term "branding" is ingrained into the consciousness of everyone in the nonprofit/philanthropic sector. Despite this widespread awareness, there is a lack of understanding about just what a brand is and what it does.

At a recent national conference on nonprofit marketing, Larry Checco, of Checco Communications in Washington, D.C., discussed the most common myths about branding and offered the straight story on where those myths go wrong. The myths are, as he sees them:

  • Myth: Marketing and branding are one and the same. Fact: marketing and advertising sell products and services. A brand is a reflection of everything associated with the organization, including but not limited to the quality of the organization's work, as well as its reputation, staff, leadership, culture, core values, programs, services and products. A good brand is nothing less than an organization's DNA.
  • Myth: Once you have an attractive logo and catchy tagline, you have your brand. Fact: Your logo and tagline are the banners for the brand. Your brand drills much deeper into your organization's core values.
  • Myth: Branding is the responsibility of your communications/marketing staff. Fact: Branding is the responsibility of everyone in the organization, from board members to support staff. If it helps, consider the person who answers your phones as your Director of First Impressions.
  • Myth: We don't have a budget for branding our organization. Fact: If you effectively leverage your current resources, you might not need much of a budget to better brand your organization.

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