The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Brand tips – and a chance for a free brand makeover

When I teach my class in marketing, I often get asked the difference between marketing and branding. Marketing is what you do to try to engage people. Branding tells you how you did. It’s how people perceive you, based on what you try to say about yourself – and what you actually do. Marketing is something that lives in your organization. Branding is something that lives in your audience’s minds.

If you’re struggling with your brand, the best advice I can give you is not to focus on color palette or logo but rather the experience you provide the people you help – and the people helping your organization. So a brand makeover starts with your actions.

If you feel your actions are strong but your brand identity is lagging, you may need a brand makeover. So I’m passing on this opportunity — called CreateAthon — to get a free brand makeover. (NOTE – DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JULY 15 according to the organizers.)

The folks behind CreateAthon – Peyton Rowe and Teresa Coles – also were generous enough to share these excellent brand tips!

1. As you begin to define your brand, take the time to talk to people outside of your organization: the people you serve, the stakeholders you call on, and other community members. They’ll tell you what’s most relevant about your organization and the work it does. It’s these audience insights that will help you uncover the real truth behind your brand.

2. With the brand truth in hand, you can then engage your internal audiences in discussions on how your nonprofit upholds and delivers its promise. When you do that, you’ll begin to see common threads, or attributes, emerge that can form the basis of a narrative around your brand.

3. A well-crafted brand narrative is one that simply and powerfully tells the story of your nonprofit, why it’s relevant, and how it meets a social need in a very distinctive way. Keep in mind, however, that good storytelling is about demonstrating personal relevance. Make your brand stories about people and impact, not organizational beliefs. (In other words, make your brand about them, not you!)

Good advice. Check out CreateAthon and please spread the word!

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About This Blog
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Caryn Stein
Vice President, Communications and Content, Network for Good

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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