Think Your Company or Nonprofit Is Too Small to Brand? Think Again.

So you’ve started your own business. Or maybe you run a nonprofit dedicated to helping a local or regional cause. You know what service you offer: “We fix cars.” “We provide financial assistance to Algonquin residents who can’t pay their rent.” But have you taken the time to identify your brand?

Even the smallest of organizations can, and should, brand effectively.

Branding is integrated into the fundamentals of your business, but it’s more than the service you offer. Branding identifies and reinforces the nuances that bring personality to your company and the features that set it apart from the competition. Branding helps you connect with an audience that values the same things your organization offers. It tells your customers and potential clients what they should expect of you and your employees. Your reputation and your brand go hand in hand. That’s why it’s important to take the time to thoughtfully identify what your company stands for, as well as what it offers, and then live that brand every day.

Yet, many small businesses and nonprofits skip the critical step of outlining their brand, erroneously thinking that branding takes a lot of time or is only for those with big budgets.

The reality is, you are already doing some form of branding every day.  The question is: Are you doing it well?

Every interaction any of your employees have, whether it’s a conversation with a customer, an email to a supplier, a snail-mail letter to a donor or a posting on your company’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page, is a reflection on your brand. Outlining your brand fundamentals is key to ensuring consistency in the way your employees, and thus your customers or supporters, talk about your organization.

Branding doesn’t require a large budget to be impactful. Nor, when built into your company’s culture, does it take a lot of time. Rather, branding provides clarity and becomes the natural way your employees position your company. And, over time, the way your customers and the public view your brand.

Next week, I’ll share the fundamentals of brand identity and easy-to-implement tips to grow and strengthen your brand. Sign up for the email list to receive the post first.

If you’re in the Chicagoland area and looking for more insights on branding for small organizations, I see that Publicity Club of Chicago is hosting a panel discussion on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 in Arlington Heights, IL. Learn more here.

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