Posts Tagged ‘nonprofit brand’

Is your brand story merely plausible?

Some years ago I led the public relations launch of a next-generation “bet your company” software platform for my employer at the time. The product promised to transform an industry and ensure the business retained its star status. Those of us charged with the product marketing did a fabulous job of storytelling. We had the national trade media eating out of our palms, giving us positive, prominent coverage in one publication after another.

But there was one small problem: Our firm never delivered the product — at least not nearly as advertised.

We had sold an incredible story, not an incredible product.

Today, I am looking back at that experience through the lens of one of the most provocative books I have read in years: “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Kahneman is actually a psychologist but his work around decision making challenged the prevailing rational model of judgment in economics. He is professor emeritus at Princeton University. (more…)

Nonprofit branding: What, why and how

I’m often hesitant to mention “branding” — the core of my consulting work — in nonprofit circles. The reason is simple: It can be a conversation killer.

New research by Harvard’s Nathalie Kylander and Christopher Stone suggests why. Drawing on interviews across 41 organizations, Kylander and Stone identify four reasons for skepticism toward branding among nonprofits:

  1. Nonprofit leaders widely associate branding with “the commercial pursuit of monetary gain,” which debases their work.
  2. A brand is often seen as “peremptorily imposed from above” in lieu of a strategic planning process, which is viewed as more participatory.
  3. Some believe leadership vanity is a larger motivation for branding than fulfilling a mission.
  4. Large nonprofit “bully brands” overshadow weaker organizations and “give brand management a bad reputation.”

These and other reasons for skepticism can’t change one fact: Any organization, nonprofit or for-profit, has a brand the moment it opens for business and people experience it. The question isn’t brand or no brand; it’s how well the brand is managed, communicated and experienced. (more…)