What is a Brand: In essence it's who your organization is and what it's story is. It's how the world see's and reads your organization and even you. It's an identity.
Building a brand comes down to a few key things: Audience, Name, Personality, Logo, and Awareness.
Audience: Identifying your audience is the first place to start, this is also key for creating a donor profile (aka your ideal donor) later on. So who is an audience? An audience is who your trying to get the attention of and the details around their persona's and behaviors. For example, if you have an animal rescue then your audience is probably going to consist of families rather than college students. Depending on your location they could be urban or suburban, with an income level over, I don't know that depends on your areas demographics information. To dive even deeper your going to want to find out what their other brand affinities are, for my nonprofit similar brand affinities are the WWF or even other animal sanctuaries. Thats what my audience is interested in and that's who I want to be getting the attention of.
Name Game: Picking a name can be a tedious endeavor. Involving hours if not days of research to make sure you don't step on anybody's toes in the process. Luckily, if your naming your nonprofit after yourself you'll cut the research time in half if not more. But for the most part it's smart to pick a catchy and meaningful name for your organization. And you've probably herd me mention before, as soon as you've got a name, check the trademark and if it's clear you apply for it like its a million dollar grant!
Once the name is your's and as your filing for the appropriate paperwork, reserve every domain, tag, @whatever you think you'll ever need which should be free for the most part (minus the domains).
Personality: You "brand personality" is your voice as a company.
Betty Crocker, a well known food favorite, is a great example.
There was no actual Betty Crocker but more of the persona of what that brand wanted to be; A maternal figure who could help you learn your way around a kitchen. Down to the words the company uses in messaging like social media.
Developing your brand personality really comes down to looking at it as a spectrum, is your brand more personable or corporate. More fun or serious? Modern or traditional?
As you decide where you land on these you'll slowly start to shape the voice of your brand. And there are plenty of online resources available to show you options of where you can land.
Brand Guidelines (colors/ fonts/ language/ logo/tagline/mission)
Pick a logo the reflects what you want your brand to be and that does so easily. Someone should't have to look at your logo for more than a minute to know what your about. This is usually the part where people start shelling out money unnecessarily but to each their own. I highly recommend taking a look into Fiverr .com, or if your budget if free.99, then Canva and even Wix.com provide applications to hep you create your own. But I personally prefer Canva, since they have brand guide templates as well. This is important because it's whats you'll be basing your marketing around later.
The colors and fonts you choose should tell the story of who your brand is. I usually recommend 2 to 3 colors that are complimentary and a font that is simple and easy to read. The great thing is that there are so many colors and fonts out there that you stand a good chance of differentiating yourself. And for those a little less familiar with the color wheel, when choosing your colors you'll be picking a color code. Meaning across the spectrum of Red, greens, blue, yellows, cayenne and beyond, you'll be narrowing it down to a 6-code color. If you need help, you can find a link to a color coder on our corresponding blog at www.walkingwithgiants.com/founderfiles.
When you done creating your logo, I recommend you pull together a focus group (even just family and friends) to get feedback. We tend to think our own work is perfect when in reality these things are going to be out there with the goal on evoking interest and feelings in other people. Once that's complete you can work on a tagline to really drive the message of what you do home. For example if you look at our logo for Founder Files, the tagline helps support that what we do is talk about building a nonprofit. In another example that's a little less direct, you can look to one of the most memorable slogans of all time, "Just Do It", by Nike. You tagline should reflect what your mission is and really drive home that message.
So you've got your cool name, brand guide and logo, the question now becomes, how do you get people to know about you. It really comes down to applying it. All those social pages you created, your website, and so on. Start uploading your logo, fill in the "about" sections with your brand mission and start sharing information about what you do and engaging with your audience on social media and even a blog if it pertains to your work. I'll use us an an example again, if you look on our instagram page @founderfilespod you'll notice that we stick within our color theme using cool tones and the same font in all our creative assets based on our own brand guidelines.
Once you reach a point where your getting regular engagement you'll be able to use social tools like google analytics and even the data tools on many social media platforms to learn more about your audience and their interests. This information will pave the way for how you should use your marketing dollars to develop your SEO (search engine optimization) and even social media paid advertising where you can pay to have your post seen by more people.
Remember to apply your branding as you go using your handy dandy new branding guide. Its a tool you'll need to pass on to your team as it grows and the foundational guide for your marketing team or person. Again, a link to the branding guide template I prefer is on the blog at www.walkingwithgiants.com/founderfiles
Brand Kit -
Color Codes -
More Reading -
Social Manager -
Audience Information -