Who has the responsibility to promote your brand?
The answer is easy…..
Brand must permeate all aspects of the organization, re-affirming the core personality.
The implementation is much more difficult.
Let`s take the classic conflicts. Sales and marketing (not-for-profits call it fundraising and communications). Sales has one goal… to sell the product or service. The sales team doesn`t really care if the brand presence is there, they just want to have a quick and easy entry point to sell. Marketing builds a case for support, brand messages and images that define the personality of the company, product or organizations.
Add customer/donor service and your brand message may be squashed in a phone call.
A couple of years ago I responded to a post card from a local credit union. It was just starting up and the brand message was clear: “We’re here for the little guy.” On a lark, I gathered my most recent financials and popped around to visit the manager of the branch located just around the corner.
He smiled nicely at me and looked at my financials –which were decent, but small — and said: “Our marketing company came up with the slogan. We really aren’t interested in companies as small as you.”
Truly, he actually said that.
The trust factor scurried down to nothing. I have little doubt that the “brand” message drew blood, sweat and tears from the marketing team. But they really should have got their sales team and customer service guys in on it. At the very least, given them some key messages to shuffle away unworthy customers like us and our couple of million dollar business.
Building a brand promise on a hope and dream is not a good idea. Your product must live up to the brand promise.
In non-profit organizations there is a tug-a-war between brand and fundraising. That’s why I still see a label package that looks like the other organization’s label package. You see — the label package like the other organization does works. Interestingly, it works when I put my logo on as well. That is called Direct Response theory.
BUT if I am going to grow my organization I need to grow beyond simple DR tactics and take it into brand direct — that means I integrate the foundation of my brand promise right into my direct response mail.
We work with a TV personality that has a significant draw. We work hard at building the Direct Mail we produce for them. Each piece is integrated with this person’s innate brand — his personality. We don’t offer a package that we tweak — we offer a long term strategy for increased overall growth.
They have grown over 30% in 12 months. The change in focus from “proven” direct response to strategic brand-direct has increased their overall income tremendously. PLUS it has converted many of the one-time supporters to monthly. A huge income boost.
Your sales or fundraising tactics must fit into an overall strategic plan.
Do one-offs work?
No question. One of my clients purchased a proven package guaranteeing them 3% response in acquisition. The story was not theirs, the offer was really not one they made and the brand was no where near their actual brand. But they did recieve 3% response from the Direct Mail package. However, the retention rate was almost 0. Did it work?
You tell me.