Brand strategy is about more than vision. It’s about results.

In Branding by Allen Thornburgh

Fast Company on the power of a visionary brand:

[V]isionary brands market something much more compelling than what they have to sell today. They champion a long-term vision for something meaningful that we can all get behind. Making this switch, from selling today’s products or services, to selling a timeless, optimistic vision, can benefit us all — and drive business success in the short and long term.

Christian nonprofits often look to the business world with envy. Famous brands seem to have so much that we want: tangible products, investment capital, substantial marketing budgets. But when it comes to having a visionary brand, its hard to “out-vision” God’s Kingdom. There we a real advantage.

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How does a visionary brand impact constituent participation? Consider this, from Fast Company:

We’ve also seen values-oriented vision galvanize employees; Starbucks’ chief strategy officer Matt Ryan said in Fast Company, “We’re able to see a very distinct market improvement in the store’s comp ­performance…controlling for all other variables, when partners believe we’re doing the right thing values-wise. That’s pretty amazing.”

Now, the visionary brand wouldn’t matter for Starbucks without excellent people, products and operations. But if you’ve got those three pieces, a visionary brand can make a huge difference.

Here’s the problem: While “brand” is gaining more attention and investment in the Christian nonprofit space, we very often encounter brand projects and think “uhhh…you’re doing it wrong.”

And this could be why: Your brand consultants aren’t responsible for results. Invigorating brainstorm sessions and clever brand schema diagrams don’t mean much if they result in a brand that doesn’t move the needle in your constituents’ minds and actions. Do your brand consultants own your results? Are they part of your operations with revenue responsibility? If not, it’s not likely to end well.

And you’re probably going to spend a LOT more than you need to.

Our brand team — professionals with deep experience in both commercial and nonprofit sectors — often finds itself coming to organizations to play the role of “brand repairman.” We are turning overly conceptual, donor-irrelevant brand work from branding agencies into visionary brand strategies that get results. While we’re happy to play that role, we greatly prefer to see you spend much less money for results-oriented brand strategies. And you know we’re accountable for results. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

The right brand strategy will pay huge dividends for your organization. The wrong one will prove to be a sad, fancy paperweight that staff try not to joke about.

Let us help you create a brand strategy that pays off. Reach me at athornburgh@masterworks.com.

 

Photo by Ann Lee / licensed under CC BY 2.0