When brand and reality fail to meet

Here’s some shocking — shocking — news from the world of fast food, from the Brand as Business Bites blog: The brand promise:reality gap.

Apparently a recent study found that 48% of people say there’s a big difference between what’s promised in fast food advertising and what they experience at the restaurants.

Let that sink in: 48% say the ads about fast food places are unrealistic. What amazes me is that the other 52% don’t perceive a gap between advertising and reality in fast food. Really?

But the other fact that puts this into perspective is this one: 64% of CMOs and brand managers say their brands do not influence decisions made at their companies.

Put these two findings together, and you have the painful reality of the fast food business: They spend millions to create exciting, fun, attractive brand promises. But the reality has little to do with that image. It’s like the two things take place on different planets.

The brand promise:reality gap suggests that instead of fretting over brand campaigns, companies’ brand-building efforts might be more successful if they were directed toward the actual customer experience.

This problem may be dramatically evident in fast food. But it exists everywhere. Including fundraising.

How much time, money, and energy has your organization put in to shaping and refining your brand into a beautiful work of art.

Compare that to the time, money, and energy you’ve put into giving your donors an unforgettable experience.

Branding is not an external reality that you can impose with the help of some wizards and consultants. Branding is what happens in real life. Like fast food chains, too many of us in the fundraising world get distracted by the shiny object of super-cool brand standards. Far better (though for more difficult) to put your focus on what donors actually experience from you:


  • Fundraising offers that sing.
  • Choice and power in the relationship.
  • Meaningful reporting back that shows what a difference her giving makes.
  • Timely receipting.
  • Error-free record-keeping.

Get that stuff right, and great graphic and messaging standards will be icing on the cake. Miss it, and your brand is just a painful irony — like a TV spot for a fast food restaurant.


Comments

4 responses to “When brand and reality fail to meet”

  1. hey jeff — thanks for quoting my recent blogpost — i’m glad i’m not the only one that is bothered by the state of affairs indicated by these stats!

  2. hey jeff — thanks for quoting my recent blogpost — i’m glad i’m not the only one that is bothered by the state of affairs indicated by these stats!

  3. Dear Jeff,
    Wow, you really didn’t take this article in the direction that I expected. I thought you were going to ask nonprofits if they were providing the best experience for social services recipients.
    However, I like this direction, and I do think we have to ask ourselves both questions. Are you selling your nonprofit as well as you could through connecting with your donors and creating relationships, not just pretty banners?
    And, Is your nonprofit doing its best for its constituents (if you’re a social services nonprofit) or volunteers? How are you providing an optimal experience for them?
    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

  4. Dear Jeff,
    Wow, you really didn’t take this article in the direction that I expected. I thought you were going to ask nonprofits if they were providing the best experience for social services recipients.
    However, I like this direction, and I do think we have to ask ourselves both questions. Are you selling your nonprofit as well as you could through connecting with your donors and creating relationships, not just pretty banners?
    And, Is your nonprofit doing its best for its constituents (if you’re a social services nonprofit) or volunteers? How are you providing an optimal experience for them?
    Mazarine
    http://wildwomanfundraising.com

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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