One thing we know at Mission Minded is that you can’t let others define your brand for you.
This truth becomes increasingly clear on the political front. There’s a cautionary tale for nonprofits on the political landscape this month, and its been dubbed “Obamacare.”
The Democrats took a misstep by letting the Republicans take hold of the name of the Affordable Care Act (a name so un-memorable that I had to Google it just to make sure I had it right).
By linking the President to the plan Republicans “took all the negatives of the plan and tied it around Obama’s neck.”
We call this a brand “halo.” After all, your brand is a summation of the thoughts, feelings and emotions people have when they interact with your organization – both the good and the bad. By allowing others to dictate what your nonprofit stands for (remember ACORN, anyone?), you may find that it is difficult to change perceptions after the fact.
Which is where the Democrats find themselves with Obamacare. With its constitutionality largely upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this month, the Democrats are trying to draft off the positive implications for their brand (and candidate).
But it may be too late. Current polls would suggest the damage has been done, and it’s anyone’s guess how this will come into play in November.
When you don’t effectively clarify and communicate your organization’s brand, you let others define you and what you stand for by default. You run the risk of having the agenda set by someone else.
You know who you are, what you do, and why it matters. Articulating that to your internal and external audiences may just save your brand from being “hijacked.” And without the billion dollar marketing budgets and press presence of a Presidential election to help you change the frame, that’s a take-over you can’t afford.