As a nonprofit professional eager to connect with your stakeholders, you spend an awful lot of time making sure your messages resonate with them. You make sure that your logo and visual identity connect to your brand, and to your audience.
But how often do you think about how your stakeholders feel?
At Mission Minded, we refer to this as brand experience. It starts by asking and answering two simple questions: What should it feel like to experience your brand? What feeling can you create that will evoke the most engagement with your work?
Most nonprofit professionals are familiar with the idea of user experience: it’s the experience (good or bad) someone has when they visit your website. Brand experience, on the other hand, affects every single interaction your stakeholders have with your organization. Truly taking the time to get clear on how you want to help stakeholders feel ensures you’ll be successful in stoking that feeling at every opportunity, large or small.
Here are three ways to make sure your stakeholders feel something that will deeply connect them to your organization:
Be Intentional: Napa Valley Community Foundation wants its stakeholders to “feel like a force for good,” because together we tackle some of Napa’s most pressing problems.” So they host frequent town halls to educate the Napa community on issues affecting the community: immigration, affordable housing, etc. Education is power!
Stoke Your Emotion: Guide Dogs for the Blind wants its stakeholders to “feel inspired, because Guide Dogs for the Blind is the best at helping people live the lives they want to live.” Their graduations, pairing a highly trained guide dog with its client partner, are emotionally evocative events that also demonstrate the impact of their extraordinary work. There is never a dry eye in the house after that event!
Sweat the Small Stuff: Finally, details count. If you want your stakeholders to feel confident that you are the expert partner in your field, make sure your communications reflect that confidence. Proofread everything. Respond promptly. Be clear and assertive. Those signals matter most when not done well. Things like typos or lack of response to emails and social media, or simply not sounding focused and forceful can erode the confidence of even your most ardent supporter.
Not long ago, brands often referred to brand experience as their “brand value proposition: what do people get in exchange for interacting with my brand?” Today, our relationship with our key stakeholders is much more dynamic and relational: we’re in conversations with them on social media, they’re fundraising on our behalf, they’re our partners. By considering what you want your brand experience to be, you’re inviting your stakeholders into a deeper and more fulfilling relationship, for you and for them.
If you want to begin to build your organization’s brand and generate unique experiences for your stakeholders, Mission Minded can help! Let us know how we can support your next brand project.