Your Brand is the gut response people have when they think of you. It’s what you’re known for. It’s their experience with you and your organization.
When leaders misunderstand brand, they miss out on key opportunities to steward their reach.
Brand incorporates visual elements, and offerings and social media presence, but your brand’s reach and impact is far greater than these individual parts.
- You won’t fully realize your Brand through branding—the visual brand elements of logo, typography, color palette, etc.
- Your Brand also has nothing to do with affiliate links or influencer blue-check status on social media.
- You actually already have a brand, whether it’s one that you think about and cultivate or not.
Consider your favorite retail outlet (whether storefront or online) and what you like about it. Chances are, just thinking about it right now brought a smile to your face.
They’re your favorite because your experience with them is mostly positive. Maybe they have the best jeans for your shape, a technology ethos you can’t find anywhere else, a shopping atmosphere you love, or free shipping with rapid delivery you can count on for your busy lifestyle.
And I’d guess they landed this prized spot as top-of-mind-favorite because you’ve shopped there more than once. They consistently check those important boxes, so you keep coming back. They’re the place for you.
As customers, we sometimes find these places by accident.
But consistent, sustained excellence requires intentional effort.
That organization works hard to achieve and maintain a brand that represents their values and priorities. When we engage with them, we experience their brand. When their brand aligns with what we’re looking for, that positive gut response you have keeps you coming back.
Which brings us to our original question:
If you’re not sure about your brand, how can your audience be?
Your community, your audience members or clients, they all still have gut responses when they think about you. But if your organization isn’t clear on the consistent brand it represents, your community won’t either. You’ll notice this happening if:
- People come but don’t engage.
- Retention is difficult.
- You feel interchangeable with a similar organization down the street.
- Their gut response seems negative (obviously that’s not your goal).
- Their experiences feel inconsistent.
- They’re confused about what you’re about.
- The target demographic you’re trying to engage isn’t responding.
If you can relate to any of these step above, the solution is simple:
It’s time to get clear on your brand.
- Look at your values statements and clearly incorporate them across the organization.
- Gather feedback and useful insights from your active audience. What do they most appreciate about your offerings?
- Look internally and externally. The team experience of staff and volunteers plays a huge part in your overall brand experience—from their gut response behind the scenes to what they extend to those coming in.
- Review key aspects of the user experience for what ways the brand you currently have strays from the brand you want to build. Then adjust.