Issue 2, Spring 2006
A. To my way of thinking the two are inseparable. A brand is not a cosmetic you apply to your organization to make it look pretty after all else is in place; your brand is nothing less than your organization's DNA; it is truly who you are and what you do in all your thoughts, words and deeds. A good brand speaks to everything about your organization — from the moment you open your doors!
So, whether yours is a start-up, or an organization revisiting its strategic plan, or merging with another organization and trying to determine its new identity, you need to ask the following strategic and brand identifying questions:
The answers to these questions get to the heart of your organization and should be reflected in your brand messages. If a good strategic plan is a good management tool, then it follows that good branding serves as a good messaging tool to help management achieve its stated goals and objectives.
A. It's true, federal domestic spending is currently trapped between Iraq and a hard place. The good news, however, is there's plenty of private sector money out there.
Many community and family foundations, as well as civic-minded individuals, some of whom may be recipients of sizable inheritances, are seeking responsible, accountable organizations to support. But you'll need to make your case to get your share. And at the risk of repeating myself, it all comes down to aggressively promoting your brand — i.e. who you are, what you do, how you do it and why any prospective donor should care enough to support you.
If you're having trouble answering the last question, ask yourself this: What would our community look like if we didn't exist? How many more families would be living in substandard housing, or not have access to medical care? How many more children would go to bed hungry, or not be able to read or write on grade level or have access to the arts? How many more battered spouses might not have a safe place to take refuge?
Whatever your mission may be, your brand is your calling card to new revenue streams.
As always, I look forward to receiving your feedback, questions, success stories and branding challenges. Also, if you are in need of a motivational speaker, trainer, branding consultant/coach, or management consultant who can help you answer the questions: Who are we? What do we do? How do we do it? And should anyone care? I invite you to for more information.
In the meantime, good luck with your branding! — Larry
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