The concept of branding is not a new one – for centuries, companies have been using logos, slogans, and other visual and verbal elements to differentiate themselves from competitors and create a sense of identity in the minds of consumers. Non profits can benefit from having a strong brand too – not just to attract donors and volunteers, but also to clearly communicate their mission and values to the public and beneficiaries.
One key aspect of building and maintaining a strong brand is consistency. But what does brand consistency mean, and why is it so important for non profits in particular?
What Does Brand Consistency Mean?
Simply put, brand consistency refers to the use of consistent elements across all touchpoints in a brand’s communication. This includes visual elements like logos, fonts and colour schemes, as well as verbal elements like tone of voice and messaging.
For example, if a non profit’s brand includes a particular shade of blue and a specific typeface in its logo, these elements should be used consistently across all materials, whether it’s a website, a brochure, a social media post, or other marketing collateral. The same goes for the non profit’s messaging and tone of voice – if the organisation wants to be seen as compassionate and caring, this should be reflected in all of its communication, from the words it uses to the images it selects.
Why Brand Consistency is Important for Non Profits
There are several reasons why brand consistency is especially important for non profits:
1. Clarity and transparency
Non profits often rely on donations and volunteers to further their cause, so it’s important for them to clearly communicate their values and goals to potential supporters. Consistent branding helps to establish trust and transparency, making it easier for people to understand exactly what the organisation stands for and what it is trying to achieve.
A non profit with a strong, consistent brand is likely to be seen as more professional and well-established, which can help to attract funding and partnerships.
In a crowded market, it can be difficult for a non profit to stand out. Consistent branding helps to differentiate an organisation from its competitors and establish its unique identity.
Non profits often have a wide range of stakeholders – donors, volunteers, beneficiaries, and more. Consistent branding helps to bring these diverse groups together and create a sense of cohesiveness within the organisation.
5. Creating understanding
Lots of non profits are not well understood by important stakeholders, including the media. Having a clear and cohesive brand will enable different audiences to understand your non profit and the value it brings.
How to Ensure You are Using Your Non Profit Brand Consistently
So, how can non profits ensure that they are using and communicating their brand consistently? Here are a few tips from WOI:
1. Create a style guide
A style guide is a document that outlines all of the elements of a brand’s visual and verbal identity, including things like logo usage, colour schemes, typography, and tone of voice. Having a clear style guide in place makes it easier for everyone within the organisation to stay on brand, no matter what materials they are creating.
2. Train your team
Make sure that everyone in your organisation understands the importance of brand consistency and knows how to apply it in their work. Consider holding a training session or creating a resource that employees can refer to as needed. This is also a great way to ensure that the team is “on the same page” in relation to company values and culture.
3. Review your materials regularly
It’s easy for small inconsistencies to creep in over time, so it’s important to regularly review all of your materials – from your website to your social media posts to your brochures – to ensure that everything is “on brand”.
4. Seek feedback
Ask for feedback from stakeholders on your brand materials to get a fresh perspective and ensure that you are effectively communicating your brand values and mission.
A non profit may not have the need or resource to have a full time branding or marketing team. Outsourcing projects to agencies can be an efficient solution. If you are a specialist non-profit, for example in business aviation, it is important to ensure the agency has experience in the sector and understands it.
Brand consistency is essential for non profits to establish trust and transparency, convey professionalism, differentiate themselves from competitors, and create a sense of cohesiveness among stakeholders. By following these tips, non profits can effectively communicate their mission and values and build a strong brand identity.
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