Have you been harassed by the ‘brand’ police?

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Ack! Run, it's the brand police!

Unfortunately, many major and planned gift officers are subject to harassment by the 'brand' police.

They impede your progress telling you the colors are off, the font size is too small, or the pictures are wrong. Sometimes they even tell you the pixels online are incorrect.

Here’s the issue.

Too often they think ‘brand’ is a verb. But when it comes to marketing, it's really a noun.

A brand is what your organization IS at its core. There’s no mistake about it. Your brand runs like veins and arteries, through every part of your organization’s essence.

A brand is not branding.

Branding is how an organization decorates its brand with a font size, a color, a picture, a design layout or a pixel. Decorating is a verb.

It's necessary because those decorations serve to remind your supporters about the brand— the veins and arteries beneath the organization's skin. Then, if the fonts, colors, pictures, layouts and even the pixels are consistent year-in and year-out across communication channels, your supporters will have an easier time remembering the brand, the essence.

But a brand is not branding and it's important to recognize the distinction.

The brand police have a job to do.

Unfortunately, too many brand managers' bosses think they should manage decorating (verb) projects and not the essence (noun) of the organization.

In other words, they only get to deal with how your marketing looks. They get mired in managing the design and the 'voice' of your communications, not in bringing forth what really resides beneath the surface of the organization.

Here's the rub.

If your organization is a pig, eventually the public will see it as a pig. And no matter how much lipstick you put on that pig, you won't be able to fool the public forever. But that's not your concern unless you're in a leadership position.

So bear with them.

They have a tough job. They want to build and manage your organization's brand (noun) as strategists but too often they only get to deal with its branding (verb) as decorators.

Stand aside brave major and legacy gift officers. Let them do their job, then you go do yours.

 

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