If seeing Christmas items on display at grocery stores in early October doesn’t scream holiday season, we don’t know what does!
Early as it seems, that’s your cue to prepare for the holiday season. Whether scheduling your holiday newsletter, holiday-themed fundraising event, or your end-of-year team celebration, using your brand strategy as the measure of how well you’ve done these things is the strategic way to go.
As you consider how to join in the festivities of the season, be sure you stick to your brand’s values, messages, and visual identity as you pump-up the holiday cheer. When you put your brand at the center of activities and communications, you avoid the trap of creating something “new” that may be festive, but that doesn’t actually reinforce your brand.
Your goal is to powerfully stand out in a crowded sea of nonprofit communications this time of year, while holding tight to who you are as an organization. If your brand is distinctive enough, the holiday season is the time for you to double down on what makes you different and essential. Remember how many other nonprofits are out there competing for your supporters’ attention, and make your holiday outreach so on-brand it could never be mistaken as coming from anyone else but your organization.
Join in on the holiday fun but do it strategically. Here are four ways you can make sure your holiday celebrations and communications are on-brand to make your organization’s voice stands out amongst the holiday wave:
1. Consult your values for direction
Your organization’s values are a clear indication of who you are at the core and equally important, who you are not.
We have seen many organizations adopt the value of ”Inclusivity” and “Welcoming to all.” This is great, but it has to be lived. So if you’re one of those organizations and are planning a social media video wishing donors and volunteers a very Merry Christmas, you’re not being inclusive of those who do not celebrate Christmas, and thus chipping away at the authenticity of your brand.
When you have a committed set of values, it is easy to make clear and confident decisions about what and how you communicate and celebrate at this time of year.
2. Let your organization’s personality come through
Whereas your values provide you a clear direction on what you should and shouldn’t do, your organization’s personality traits guide how to talk about your holiday plans in the right tone. In short, if your organization was a person and walked through the door, what would their personality traits be?
If your personality is community-minded, authentic or adaptable, let those traits come through in your holiday communications. Show that you are adaptable, reinforce how you are community-minded by leading your holiday email thinking about what your community needs during the holiday season. If you’re thoughtful and somber, stay true to these ideas even during the holidays.
3. Consider how you want your audience to feel
How do you want your audience to feel when they engage with your organization? Do you want them to feel empowered? Confident? Assured? Safe? Whatever that emotion is, what we call your Brand Experience, committing to that idea again and again ensures you will give people the chance to feel it often, simply by the way you engage and communicate. The holidays are a great opportunity to reinforce your unique brand and allow your audience to recognize (and be grateful!) to you for it.
At Mission Minded, our brand is all about “amplifying the good.” Therefore, instead of throwing the usual holiday themed party, we do an end-of-year event focused on the good feelings we all get when we reflect on what each team member has done to to amplify the incredible work our clients do. It’s not called a holiday party; it’s called Amplify the Year, and it’s a celebration that aligns with our unique brand.
4. Stay consistent with your organization’s visual expression
When you think about any holiday, one of the first things that come to mind are the decorations, the colors, the visuals associated with that holiday. Do they change year to year? No, and neither should the way your organization expresses itself visually change.
This visual expression is called your visual identity. It includes your logo, color scheme, typography, photography, and more.
Brands that are distinct and recognizable use their visual identity consistently and at every touchpoint. When your organization uses different fonts or colors in your communication materials instead of being consistent, your audience can’t instantly recognize you or associate the way you look with the values you hold or the work you do.
Don’t let this unintentionally happen during this season. If you adopt a holiday’s color scheme or visuals in your communications that aren’t part of your standard visual identity, your audience will not be able to easily differentiate your organization from the rest. Your visual identity is one of the first things your audience comes in contact with so keep it consistent all year long.
This holiday season, celebrate, and celebrate in alignment with your brand. Double down on what makes you special and reinforce that uniqueness in how you look, how you sound, and how your organization presents itself. You’ll stand out from the crowd and end the year authentically you.
What are some creative and strategic ways your organization is leveraging its brand this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!