Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 13

Key Brand Components/Questions for Brand Evaluation Brand Strategy Elements and Evaluation Questions 1. Brand promise/outcomes: • What is the clearly different outcome after experiencing your product or services? • What is clearly disruptive about your brand? What is the wildest, most outrageous claim you could make? 2. Brand value/features and functionality/ utility (key unique competencies and capabilities that support the brand promise): • Product attributes deemed important to target market segments; what are your areas of excellence? • Product differentials, real or perceived by target market segments. • Expectations of buyers about products in your category. • Programs, activities, materials, and policies in support of the brand, including names, logos, packaging, slogans, ad content, ad media, ad specialties, trade shows, contests sponsored, public relations, literature, promotions, events sponsored, distribution channels used, partners and alliances, website activity, guarantees, return policies, co-branding activities, graphic standards, customer relations policies and personnel, audio symbols/themes, participation in trade associations and standards committees, and any other activities that provide exposure of the brand to your markets by you and by your competitors. 3. Brand experience/emotion (those things that the consumer will feel after experiencing your brand): • Identify key brand touchpoints and how the consumer will experience each. • Define differential experience at each point, consumer expectations. • Superior experience at each phase and expected outcomes.

• Causes people to clamor to work for and be part of a great brand and its impact (Return on Life – ROL) and donors contribute more freely. This article aims to serve as a practicum for understanding the key elements in building a foundation for brand strategy for your nonprofit. It serves, in part, to guide the behavior in the execution of services. It must evolve over time. Apple has evolved in all its products and services, and has changed everything about itself except the well-known hallmark of the bite out of the Apple, and the basic values that have guided it for decades. Solid brand development, with great service execution, will lead you to top-of-mind awareness among stakeholders and, as you expand and change your offering and impact, you will become a trusted advisor, and your services will be readily accepted and referred. What is a Brand? When seeking definition and key elements, the word brand isn’t always clear. Many people believe it is just the logotype or hallmark. That is an important element, but it’s a small component of great branding strategy. Brand answers these key questions: Why should I buy into your services? What is clearly different about your outcomes? Great brand strategy is required to make you the provider of choice when cutting through all the clutter that exists in every consumer’s mind from daily bombardment with messages from every direction. Your position and value to your target audience must be clear and reinforced throughout the organization, such that each and every contact is a great brand experience. A great brand, in its simplest form, is the promise to your target constituents of what outcome they can expect when they utilize your services. The brand promise encompasses every touchpoint of your organization, from the physical appearance of facilities to the way each call is answered. If the brand is widely shared and understood such that every employee and volunteer knows their role in delivering the brand promise, you will have an evergreen brand.

The other key component is the brand experience. This is the part of the brand that needs to be well defined in terms of customer needs and wants, and evolves over time. Too often we define employees’ or associates’ roles in terms of job descriptions (task oriented) without any mention or clarity of their role in delivering the brand promise. Prerequisites of Building a Great Brand Great brands have a few foundational elements behind them. These are generally part of the strategic plan process and often need to be redefined when the branding exercises are performed. 1. Clarity of constituents’ needs, desires, and expectations, often called target market segments (there can be multiple segments and, the better the definition of those segments, the easier it is to build extraordinary brand experience and value). 2. Definition of value creation for constituents: how you create that extraordinary, unique value and experience for your clients. 3. Migration of that value over time to retain and grow constituent base. 4. Clarity of the strategic plan: • Uniqueness of your services or combination thereof; that is, a clearly unique outcome or impact that your constituents cannot get anywhere else. • Organizational values, purpose, and promise. • Vision and long-term measurable or assessable objectives (used interchangeably with goals). • Mission and grand strategy; grand strategy is basically how the organization will reach and serve its market targets. • Clear definition of strategic excellence positions: the capabilities that have unique and special value to target segments. • Competencies and capabilities that support your unique position and offering. • Strategies, that is, resource commitments: dollars and people.

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