Episode 009: When is the right time to rebrand your nonprofit?

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In this episode

When traveling the speaking circuit, I’m often asked how do you know when it’s time to rebrand?

And my answer is if you’re asking that question, then probably yesterday.

And the reason is organizations are extremely busy. Busy fulfilling their missions every single hour of every single day. So much so they don’t see the warning signs until it’s almost too late.

There are indeed telltale signs. Some more obvious than others.

This is Part 2 of a four-part series

The reason I started the BADASSFORGOOD podcast was to help empower all nonprofits to realize their full potential. Putting your brand house in order is an absolute must if you’re serious about maximizing your full potential. Building and managing your brand the right way can pay huge dividends for your nonprofit in both the short and long-term.

To help explain what I mean, I’ve created a four-part series that answers some of the more critical questions around branding your nonprofit.

The four episodes include:

  • Part 1: What is a nonprofit brand?
  • Part 2: When is the right time to rebrand your nonprofit?
  • Part 3: Don’t kill your rebrand before you even get started
  • Part 4: Rebranding your nonprofit? Get your logo right!

So that you don’t miss any of these episodes, go to rtrentthompson.com/subscribe and subscribe and we’ll send you an email letting you know the next episode is live.

Don’t miss a single episode. Subscribe now!

CLICK TO READ SHOW NOTES

Show notes

Welcome back to the BADASSFORGOOD podcast!

When traveling the speaking circuit, I’m often asked how do you know when it’s time to rebrand?

And my answer is if you’re asking that question, then probably yesterday.

And the reason is organizations are busy –  busy fulfilling their missions every single hour of every single day. So much so they don’t see the warning signs until its almost too late.

There are indeed telltale signs. Some more obvious than others.

I could sit here and run down a long list of warning signs and hypothetical situations and bore you to frick’n tears. Or, I could tell you a story of a real-life rebrand. From one professional storyteller to another, I think I know which you’d prefer.

We recently took The Children’s Center in Detroit through a comprehensive rebrand, the first and only in its 86 year history.

The Children’s Center helps nearly 7,500 children and families each year living at or below the poverty line who struggle with behavioral, emotional, educational and physical challenges.

Over the years, as they added more and more programs and services, it became increasingly difficult for them to talk about the work they do — and why it matters — in a meaningful and relevant way.

They also faced a challenging and competitive giving environment. Government funding was shrinking. They were competing for the same pool of donors. Donors were still giving, but smaller gifts and to fewer charities.

And, to make matters even worse, The Children’s Center had a brand identity problem:

They were constantly being confused with the Children’s Hospital in Detroit, who’s a wonderful organization who has a very strong and highly respected reputation within the same community.

Contributing to their brand identity problem was an hodgepodge of marketing collateral and non-responsive website that wasn’t doing them any favors.

The majority of the marketing collateral was…

…created by various staff members

…from different programs

…with varying levels of skills.

Yup. Desktop Publisher was in full force. And, is wasn’t pretty. See what I did there?

Here’s the thing:

While growth is a great challenge to have, it created a ginormous brand and messaging problem for The Children’s Center. After 86 years, their brand had become severely diluted with mixed messages and images and was being communicated in a variety voice, fonts, and colors.

All of these factors were causing them to lose relevance with families and donors at an accelerated pace. Almost to the point of becoming invisible in plain sight. Families were living around the corner and potential corporate partners three blocks to the south who had no clue The Children’s Center even existed right there in the own backyard.

The Children’s Center knew that if they didn’t address this problem soon, it was only going to get worse.

I remember early during the rebranding process walking around asking families, staff, board members, donors, volunteers, and other supporters one simple question: “What does The Children’s Center do?”

Now, I expected the answers to vary a little, depending on everyone’s unique relationship with The Children’s Center. What I did not expect was that the majority didn’t even know how to BEGIN to answer that question.

I remember telling leadership:

If you, your staff and your board aren’t able to consistently talk about what you do, how can you expect families to know why they should come to you for help.

Or, expect donors to give to an organization that doesn’t come close to making it clear why what they do matters and how donors can help make a difference.

And, then I said, Desktop Publisher has to go!

If you are experiencing any of these challenges faced by The Children’s Center, I highly recommend you consider rebranding and retooling your organization before its too late.

In future episodes, I’ll continue with the story about The Children’s Center rebrand.

I’ll share a behind the scene look at the actual rebrand process. How we retooled their marketing and communications infrastructure enabling them to do more with less.

I will highlight a few of the game-changing tools from the brand toolbox we created to help them improve donor engagement, increase fundraising results, to help them powerfully tell their story, and the stories of those they serve through traditional and digital channels.

How we created “branded” donor experiences to help strengthen existing and forge new relationships with generational donors.

I’ll also share how we aligned their leadership, staff, board, and key stakeholders with message maps to help them y talk consistently about the work they do — and why it matters — in more powerful and relevant manner.

@badassforgood

 

Thanks for listening to the BADASSFORGOOD podcast!

If you like the BADASSFORGOOD podcast, please download it, tweet it, Facebook it, and share it with everyone!

If you have a brand or marketing question, or an idea for a show topic, shoot me an email at trent@rtrentthompson.com or tweet me @badassforgood.

And, if you haven’t already, subscribe to the BADASSFORGOOD podcast today so you don’t miss a single episode!

My name is R. Trent Thompson. Thank you for stopping by!

Do come back.

 

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