A better way to build a brand

Does this Marketoonist cartoon on brand guidelines seem familiar?

121210b.brandguidelines

So often the idea of “brand” is that it’s created by following inflexible guidelines, enforced by “brand police.”

Depending on the level of detail of the brand guidelines and the inflexibility of the brand police who enforce them, you can never be more urgent, more happy, more sad, more worried — more anything — than the brand allows.

In a quest for consistency, you end up with uniformity. Which is death for fundraising, because fundraising is an unending quest to “interrupt” the normal flow of events in donors’ lives and get them to stop and care about the need of the moment.

Marketoonist suggests a different approach to branding:

Instead of brand police, we should be more like brand sherpa: experienced guides that help our creative partners climb higher.

I like that. It gets what we need from branding — consistency, clarity, unity — without the mindless uniformity that seems to happen.


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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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About the blogger

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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