Many of our healthcare organization clients both compete and collaborate with other organizations with similar missions. You may understand the uniqueness of your mission — but do your donors? If you sound, look and feel like other groups who share your sector, you may have a problem.
For example, one of our favorite clients is a disease research foundation that organizes fundraising walks. The challenge is that many other disease research foundations do the same kind of event!
Another example: we work with a number of organizations that help disconnected youth. Each one has a wonderful mission and effective programs — but a potential donor may have a difficult time telling them apart.
Here are some actions to achieve brand differentiation:
Understand your competitive environment
- Google using key words associated with your mission and study the results. This will show what organizations compete in your sector — you’ll want to research them. In addition, if your organization had low rankings compared to competitors, you can consider whether search engine optimization or a pay-per-click campaign is warranted for your website.
- Study your competitors: visit their websites, note how they look and feel. Note their key messages: how they talk about their mission, how they describe their programs, their “tone of voice”. Determine what is effective and what is not. Understand how you differ from them.
- Study your own communications. Write out the phrases you use to describe your organization. Compare it to your competitors.
Define your difference
- Zig where they zag. You want to look, feel and sound different from other organizations, even if your mission overlaps.
- Be consistent with branding. Develop an effective value proposition and key messages for your audiences. Implement them in a disciplined way — it takes a lot of repetition for branding to work.
- The key here is trying to view your organization from a donor’s perspective – that’s what effective branding is about.
FACT OF THE MONTH
The ZIP in the post office’s Zip-code stands for “Zoning Improvement Plan.”