Ever think about which way your organization’s brand faces? For many, it’s too often outward – facing those outside your organization because that’s where impressions are to be made, donors are to be cultivated and members and clients seeking support to connect with your organization.
While an outward focus for your organization is important, so too is a downward focus. A downward focus keeps your brand experience meaningful because a downward focus puts your board and staff in the middle of your brand’s success. Organizations with brands that resonate downward will almost always have brands that resonate better outward.
What can organizations like yours do to make your brand have an impact downward? Here are a few ideas:
First and foremost, have regular conversations with your board and staff about “where” your brand lives. Too many will think your brand lives only through its logo. Make sure they understand your brand lives through the experience your organization creates at every touch point with all its stakeholders. How the phone gets answered, your web site, a community presentation – these are some of the ways stakeholders experience your brand.
Also have regular conversations about why your brand matters. Too often those doing meaningful work are the first to take that work for granted. Make sure your board and staff connect to your organization’s “why.” Consider starting board and staff meetings by asking people to share “why your organization’s work matters.” A better appreciation for your “why” will ultimately make your organization’s “what” and “how” be easier to articulate.
Be sure to provide board and staff with key talking points about your brand story to share so there’s consistency downward that assures consistency outward. Most organizations spend far more time thinking about how to message and communicate effectively with “outward” audiences at the expense of downward stakeholders. Create the story that your best advocates can effectively share.
Making certain your brand is facing downward and outward will create a stronger, more compelling brand.