Many nonprofits, schools, and foundations have had to change course due to unexpected challenges, and address societal issues that impact operations and community engagement.
For many organizations, the related shifts have meant that tending to your brand has taken a back seat.
It’s common to be so busy fulfilling the mission that managing the signals you send your audience isn’t prioritized. It might even seem absurd to think about branding at a time when there are so many urgent priorities.
But because your thoughtfully curated brand powerfully conveys your value to the world, it makes your work easier.
When you change internally, or when the world around you changes, your brand needs to evolve in tandem. This ensures your brand mirrors your organization’s growth and aspirations, helping you maintain relevance, and stand out in an increasingly busy and competitive world.
Here are five signs that a rebrand could be a game-changer for your organization.
If your organization has undergone a significant strategic pivot, your brand should reflect that change.
For example, a nonprofit that shifts from land conservation to environmental justice requires a substantial change in positioning its importance and a new narrative. Without it, donors and partners may be too confused to follow you or know they should. This ultimately weakens your ability to deliver on your mission.
Smart brand strategy and messaging isn’t a luxury; it’s an imperative.
Similarly, if you’ve recently approved a new strategic plan outlining ambitious commitments for the future, it’s time to align your brand to reflect the boldness of your aspirations.
If your organization has adopted new policies that create cultural shifts, such as embracing an anti-racism stance or prioritizing work-life balance, your brand should incorporate these as potential core values. This will help attract supporters and staff who share your mission and values.
Two cases warrant a rebrand when a new leader is appointed:
Your ultimate goal should be to develop a bold and distinctive brand that transcends any individual or leader. Leaders should be the ultimate brand ambassador, not the brand themselves.
If the good news is that more people are paying attention to your mission, the bad news might be that other organizations have caught up to your vision, making it harder for you to stand out.
If your supporters no longer understand what differentiates you from your competitors, it’s time to carve out a bold position, reinforcing why you matter more than ever.
When the world changes around you, you need to make sure you’re clear about why you’re still relevant. What’s the fundamental challenge you address, and how do you do it so uniquely that your work becomes imperative? A rebrand will help you position yourself as a leader, and distinguish you from similar mission-driven organizations.
If you want to find and retain great employees, start by taking a closer look at your brand.
Job seekers choose their employer based on many factors including:
A brand that clearly communicates what you uniquely stand for helps attract candidates who share your values and align with your mission. To attract top talent, create a brand that sets you apart from other employers.
A rebrand can also boost morale and job satisfaction among existing employees, who see their role in the brand as important and meaningful.
You might assume that a merger’s success would be guaranteed by sharing a joint mission and target audience.
But we’ve seen in our work that the most reliable indicator of a successful merger is a robust brand that goes further than changing a name and logo.
The branding development process itself plays a crucial role in aligning values, messages, and culture. Whether you adopt the other organization’s name or vice versa, your merger will significantly benefit from an authentic and aspirational brand strategy that guides the newly formed organization.
Which of these is impacting your organization? Contact us to learn more about how to rebrand for success.
And if you’re not quite ready to rebrand, but want help with planning and budgeting, call on us.
Jennie Winton is a Founding Partner of Mission Minded, a 25-year marketing veteran sought for her expertise in branding nonprofit organizations, and a one-on-one leadership coach.
See all posts by Jennie Winton