Communicating and controlling your brand is a challenge for any organisation - but what exactly comprises a charity’s ‘brand’ and why might a charity need a digital system specifically designed to manage it?
A ‘brand’ might seem intangible, but that’s half the challenge: keeping something that can be quite nebulous and made up of many different parts coherent as a whole, and ensuring it communicates your organisation as effectively possible across the host of channels, both offline and online, that charities now pitch themselves across.
1 - Charities need a strong brand identity
The word ‘brand’ might not be traditionally associated with the non-profit sector, but in the digital world it’s increasingly important for charities to create and manage a strong, consistent brand identity, especially if they fundraise online.
Nearly half of charities now say that building brand awareness is their biggest digital marketing challenge, according to a recent study from Salesforce.org.
A report by Charity Comms, 'Branding Inside Out'
found that charities that invest in strong, consistent brands reap the awards of rising awareness and incomes.
Your brand is the outside world’s perception of your charity – the way you communicate your organisation’s distinct personality, values, purpose, impact and the sum of everything you are as a charity.
A brand that is inconsistent or sloppy can leave people confused about who you are what you do. Ultimately, if you’re unable to communicate it clearly you will not be heard in the crowded arena of voices competing for audiences’ attentions.
2 - Charities often don’t understand the assets they have or need
Your brand’s assets are a complete kit to build your organisation’s brand identity, from your name, logo, slogan/motto, visual style, fonts, icons, colours, tone of voice, approved imagery, spokespeople/endorsers, quotes and all the other guidelines, templates and elements that comprise the way you communicate your mission and purpose.
The challenge of brand management lies not just in creating the elements of a memorable brand but keeping it consistent throughout the many different aspects of a charity’s face-to-face and digital communications.
Whether you’re producing a fundraising pack, exhibiting at an event, creating a new website or social media channel, sending a newsletter, putting up signage or posters, launching new vehicles, sending direct mail, planning a whole fundraising or volunteer recruitment campaign or having a brand refresh, you need to be communicating your assets together in a way that is recognisable as your brand and works seamlessly across many different formats.
A brand management system can solve this by giving you instant access to a categorised library of the latest approved assets that can be easily found and adapted wherever they’re needed.
3 - Charities don’t always have design expertise in-house
There’s nothing more frustrating than taking the time to create a create brand, and then having the people on the front lines unable or unwilling to use it. You need to ensure your brand is easy for anyone in your organisation to pick up and use when they need to quickly create that newsletter, poster or social media graphic, whether it’s the CEO or a volunteer working out of hours.
Ensuring everyone has access to the right materials is especially challenging when charities often have different service areas, operate in different locations or have a number of different channels.
In a brand management system users from across the whole organisation can download exactly what they need when they need it, in the right format, without having to wait for designers to send it to them.
Having this system in place means any authorised individuals in a charity can create anything they want using simple templates and just their web browser, so they save time and expense they could be spending going back and forth to designers.
4 - Brand management can be a huge time and resource saver
When producing a new piece of communication, an end-to-end brand management system will handle everything from production, fulfilment, budget control, stock ordering and management, reporting and professional printing.
This takes the load off busy teams and ensures complete visibility of the process, so there is less time spent having to check stock is in order or who has downloaded what – you can instantly track and view any of this information within the same system.
5 - It can prevent costly mistakes happening
When it comes to protecting your charity’s brand, it’s best to leave nothing to chance. Charities rely on the trust of their beneficiaries and the public, and must ensure that the right messages are going out at the right time, and that everything is correct.
Central management of brand assets means better control over your brand, so you can give staff and volunteers the autonomy to create communications without worrying about mistakes or compliance issues.
Your assets can be updated to reflect any changes to important information, so someone can’t accidently send an out-of-date logo to the printer or include the wrong details of a spokesperson.
There is also the important question of safeguarding – a charity needs to know that any photography of beneficiaries or brand ambassadors is approved and that they have permission to use all images, or they could be exposing them to harm, violating privacy rules or even facing a copyright dispute.
Want to explore what an end-to-end brand management system can do for your charity? Check out Brand iQ – the leading brand management solution especially catered to the charity sector.