How non-profits can build a brand in India?
The next logical challenge for many non-profits in India is how to build a great brand out of their organisation’s work and impact if they do understand, recognise the need for building a brand. Once the leadership team, founders recognise the need to build a brand, the team should commit to the idea, as it requires a long-term investment and consistently make effort. The team should internalise the brand building efforts across all team members or departments and demonstrate that the leadership completely supports the initiative. The follow-up step is to plan and allocate specific resources and budget at the beginning of the year for brand building efforts, which also helps to plan how much money needs to be raised for brand building and marketing next year based on budget plans in the current year. Resources for brand building include team members or hiring consultants with relevant skills, infrastructure and capacity to execute brand and marketing activities.
We are suggesting a simple 5 step process of brand building for your non-profit here.
Please note, this is especially applicable for non-profits that operate between medium to large scale. Small – scale non-profits, NGOs will not have the resources or capacity to execute brand building but can initiate smaller steps to build the roadmap for growth. They can pick few tips, apply at smaller scale and leaner in execution.
1. Discover: Defining purpose and a strategic brand plan
It is imperative that the organisation define its purpose, the brand vision and a strategic roadmap of how the organisation will effectively communicate internally and externally. A strategic brand plan consists of its core values, activities based on the organisation’s work, impact and can be also translated into strategic direction for marketing, digital, PR and other communication activities. This will become the main reference and beacon to steer the team through the calendar year of brand building and marketing activities and also monitor its progress across years tied to specific outcomes and broader objective of the organisation’s work.
2. Integrate: Brand is not different from the organisation strategy
A common question by many organisations asked, is brand strategy different from organisation strategy? Is yes, then how is it different? The answer would be no and yes. The answer to no is because the organisation strategy is based on the program objectives and outcomes, organisation’s impact measurement, and fund-raising goals for organisation growth. These goals need to be linked to brand building and marketing goals, which means the organisation strategy needs to be interpreted into the brand and marketing strategy too. The answer to yes, there is a difference between organisation and brand strategy because the brand strategy needs to consider other outcomes and goals which are not part of the organisation goals. For example, the reach of target audience of all outreach activities, total engagement of stakeholders, qualitative impact and feedback from marketing, specific campaign outcomes could be some of the strategic brand and marketing outcomes which may not overlap with organisation outcomes. Hence, it is necessary to align the brand strategy with the organisation strategy to clear track the outcomes for both separately and in common areas of goals too.
3. Develop: Integrate across channels, internal and external
Based on the defined strategic brand building roadmap, the team needs to develop material, branded content across formats (communication collateral/ print, written content, visual content, videos). The content needs to be developed with a consistent brand and design language, the content can be lean/ on budget but need to generate an optimal volume of content for distribution across channels of marketing/ outreach. Integrating content across channels of digital marketing, events, marketing activities is critical to engage the target audience or stakeholders spread across these channels consistently.
4. Expand: Brand influence, championing the work
Once the branded content is distributed across channels, it is then important to track the engagement and interpret how your organisation’s target audience is reacting, engaging or sharing your work. You will discover that certain marketing channels will get you 100% results but few will show less than half and then tweaking your content, optimising the high performing channels will be important. This is the time, when your organisation’s build its peak of engagement and brand impact by expanding the organisation’s “influence” on its target audience. The time you witness the audience better engaged, you can push more content, bring organisation leaders to talk through videos, content, highlight the organisations’ impact, testimonials from beneficiaries, engaging stories of impact. This will see you expand your influence, and encourage your organisation’s team members across department to also spread the word, champion their work and add more voices through your marketing channels.
5. Nurture: Target community, funders and other stakeholders
As the organisation expands its brand influence, the next task would be to track the brand building and marketing outcomes to tweak the strategy or execution of upcoming activities. It is also an opportunity for getting feedback, co-create content with your audience and nurture the engagement further. As brand building and marketing is a continual process, nurturing the target audience, stakeholders and organisation relationships consistently is necessary. This will also give the team clear directions on how to evolve the brand and marketing strategy to be improved with time and organisation objectives.