Shining the Best Light—Eliminate Brand Confusion and Mistakes

Success comes when everybody is onboard with your mission. Make sure you’re giving your organization the best possible chance to succeed. You might not realize it, but your brand could be coming off as confusing to your donors, staff and constituents.

Let’s avoid the confusion with some quick tips.

Harness the Branding Power

Your brand has the power to succeed, but first you need to acknowledge what your brand is. Not recognizing the power that it has is a big mistake. Often we’re hyper-focused on our day-to-day work and don’t take the time to evaluate how our organizations are being perceived.

Take time to evaluate how you’re currently conveying your organization to the world and how you want to be perceived. Once you recognize that, it’s time to develop a guide.

Establish Guidelines (In Writing)

If your staff doesn’t know how to portray your brand, you can’t blame them for putting out the wrong message to the world.

Changing a logo color? Yikes. Using a sans serif font where a serif should go? Uh oh. These are simple things that some of your staff probably haven’t even considered. Be vocal about your brand guidelines.

If the idea of a guidebook scares you (so many pages, am I right?), focus on making a quick one-sheet page with specifications instead. It should include what is acceptable to associate with your branding, when it’s appropriate to use logos and when it’s not appropriate to use branding. List fonts your organization uses in marketing communications, when writing press releases and every time something leaves your organization.

Just because there are multiple people with their hands in the mix doesn’t mean it has to spoil the batter. If everybody knows what they’re doing, you’re significantly upping your chances of success.

One Voice, a Unified Brand

Constituents often become confused when they’re receiving mixed signals. This happens when one direct mail piece has a light and fun tone, and the next appeal they receive takes a serious approach. Confusion can even happen with different interpretations of what your organization is trying to achieve.

Appoint somebody to look at each communication that goes out to see if it’s written in the right voice (not to mention spell-checking and other proofing basics). Different writers can use a slightly different voice that throws off your donors or staff. Develop a system, and stick with it.

What other branding mistakes has your organization encountered? How did you overcome them?