We all have distinct personalities—some of us are outgoing and whimsical, while others are nerdy and creative. Your nonprofit is no different. We believe that defining and using your organization’s brand personality can be a useful communications tool. In fact, your personality, when coupled with your positioning (the big idea you hope others might associate with your organization), is the heart of your brand strategy and the key to defining or refining your brand identity and experience.
First things first, what is brand personality? Brand personality is the tone and style you use to guide your communications. It is a set of adjectives that describe the overarching feelings you want your community to associate with your organization. Think about the most recent Target commercial you’ve seen and how it made you feel. You might describe the retail brand as fun, lovable, pleasant, and charming, and that’s brand personality in action.
Elements of your personality should come through in the tone and style of all of your communications. Writing a blog post? Designing a brochure? Check out the adjectives that make up your brand personality and decide if the communications look, feel, and sound true to your personality.
An effective brand personality will help your nonprofit distinguish itself from its peers because it’s a list of characteristics that are only true to you. Used consistently, personality will become a core part of your brand, and audiences will immediately associate certain feelings with your work.
Not sure where to start? Imagine you were asking a board member to set your organization up on a blind date with their close friend, a generous potential donor. How would you want that board member to describe you to their friend? Sure, you hope they’d reference your mission or elevator pitch, but what adjectives would you want them to use to get that donor excited to meet you? Answering this question is a good place to start.
I want to help you discover and apply your brand personality to your nonprofit. Join me on March 21 at this free 90-minute workshop, Fish or Fowl? Establishing Your Nonprofit's Brand Personality, at Foundation Center Northeast-Washington, DC. We’ll talk about brand personality, look at some examples, and walk through exercises to help you determine the characteristics that describe your nonprofit on its best day.
FARRA TROMPETER is Vice President at Big Duck, a communications firm that works exclusively with nonprofits to help organizations reach supporters, build awareness, and raise money. She has more than 20 years of experience in fundraising and communications for nonprofit organizations. Farra’s expertise focuses on helping nonprofits create multichannel campaigns and rethink how to use their brand identity to connect with donors, activists, and other members of their community. She tweets about nonprofit fundraising and communications via @farra.