Di Flatt's Blog


Flexing your brand – how far do you go? Or do you not flex at all?

Di FlattHi everyone

As ever, before we start today, do remember this is my personal blog and so are my views and thoughts and not those of my charity. If I do say anything as ‘Epilepsy Action’ then I will make that loud and clear. So here we go, lets talk about fundraising.

Well I finally found some time and space to write a new piece. I thought I would write about brands following my speaking at the IoF Brand Positioning for Successful Fundraising last week.

Brands are funny things. Much needed but as Kevin Kibble recently said to me on twitter, ‘if customers have to think about your brand then you’ve missed it!’, and he is so right. The best brands out there in the commercial world, do we think about their ‘brand’? No of course we don’t – we just know it. We recognise them, we have immediate feelings about them (good or bad) and we know what they are about.

There are those who get it wrong of course. We have all experienced those adverts that leave us thinking ‘what was that all about’, and ‘what were they actually advertising’. Indeed when organisations have spent so much money and time on advertising one can only hope they manage to get their concept and values across to the audience they are pitching to.

Perhaps those we ‘don’t get’ are just the ones that were never being pitched at us in the first place!

But to me the essence of a brand is what we feel about it. You only need to think about perfume and handbags (sorry boys but I am a girl!). When advertisers are selling these to us they don’t pitch us a logo and a service now do they.

Imagine if they did. Well I just know my favourite perfumes just would not have the same allure if they were in plain glass bottles with just a logo, and perhaps someone telling me it will make me smell better.

No indeed it wouldn’t – I like the pretty bottle, the nice packaging, the way the advert shows me it is for desirable and attractive women, drawing me into the ‘world’ of the perfume wearer. I want the whole concept of how that perfume is taking me somewhere prettier, happier, and more luxurious. This all goes to my experience and enjoyment of purchasing it and wearing it.

Could you sell me a handbag that was merely a receptacle that carried my things from a to b? Or could you sell me the experience of luxury, a lifestyle that goes with that, and the knowledge that when I carry that handbag I am living that lifestyle.

Ok – I accept this sounds a little dreamy and extreme perhaps – but is this not how luxury goods are sold to us all. One only has to think of top high quality cars – which ones do you aspire to?

Charity giving is another luxury – something we think about and choose, at an emotional level, to spend our money on. But this time we don’t go away with that luxury perfume, gorgeous handbag, Porsche or Ferrari. What we do get is to feel is that through giving our gift we have played a part in effecting change on the world.

Every single donor to our causes has thought about what he is about to do, whether it is £1 or £1million. Every £1 or £1million given is ensuring that work is undertaken to make something happen. But first we have to ensure that we have given that potential donor a cause brand that will draw them in to the experience – and is that the same kind of branding for every potential donor?

Now some of you who know me well know that I have particular views on charity branding. It is important, hugely important – but so many of us become a little too entrenched in the ‘logo and service’ idea of a brand.

In the commercial world they are ‘selling’ us something tangible that we can take away with us, so it is imperative that they sell us something we actually want. However what I wanted two years ago may not be what I want today, and indeed not what I want in another two years time. The world changes, I change, my needs and preferences change. These things change constantly. In the past five to ten years how much change has there been.

Just looking at the world of handbags and perfume (I know I can’t help it) – how many new perfumes and bag designs have there been to ensure we keep on buying them. Well I am not going to ask you to count, lets just say a lot. The same with cars, the designs and models change all the time. Becoming more modern each year, following new trends, keeping up with what the various customers across their target markets are looking for.

The commercial world stays constantly innovative and fluid, their ‘brands’ staying in the public eye, but everything about them always moving with the trends of the day and the audience they are talking to. Their logo may stay the same for a period of time, but their ‘brand’ is always on the move.

So would it be right for us as charities to offer exactly the same ‘brand’ to every single donor, grant giver, corporate partner that we work with? No of course it wouldn’t. Alongside our logo and name we should keep ourselves moveable and innovative ensuring we offer the right picture of ourselves relevant to the audience we are talking to.

 Your brand is a set of ideas, images, and associations that people carry around in their heads about you and your charity
 it is more than just a logo
 it is an expression of who you are and what you do,

So if we think about brands at a personal level for a moment, and if your brand is an expression of you, then what is your brand?

I would say my brand changes all the time, dependent on what I am doing, where I am, who I am with, and the results I want to achieve.

Perhaps you could think of yourself:
 In the workplace.
 On holiday.
 At home.

These are just three small examples of where you may choose to be quite ‘different’ in your appearance and approach – but the essence of you, your values, what people feel about you will always essentially remain the same. The only thing that doesn’t change is your face (so is your face your logo?). For every occasion you will change your appearance and the things you say to fit your audience. You may wear many different outfits this week dependent on where you are going and who you are seeing.

FLEX YOUR BRAND

So my challenge to you is to think carefully about your charity’s brand, your charity’s face. Are you using it to best advantage, are you fluid and moveable and flexing your outward appearance to ensure that you relate to the audience you are speaking to. Flex your brand – it is the only way to ensure you engage appropriately with the vast number of target audiences you will have. Don’t remain entrenched and static – change as your audience changes. How many outfits does your charity need to wear this week dependent on the different funding audiences you are going to have?

TWITTER DISCUSSIONS ON BRANDING

Well I asked a couple of questions about brands to colleagues and friends using twitter over the last couple of days. Some of these people you may recognise and I thought you would enjoy seeing the results.
I have put the person’s twitter name then their ‘tweet’.

QUESTION ONE:
@DiFlatt If you were a brand, what would you be? In five words.

@DiFlatt Effecting change for good forever.
@DiFlatt Caring for others comes first.
@kevinkibble if your ‘customers’ have to think about your brand then you’ve missed it! A wise man once said.
@markyphillips Hi Di. heard good reports about your IOF branding pres.
@Ben_Jarelbo Boring but all I could come up with is: WISHES HE COULD DO MORE.
@Ben_Jarelbo A favourite uncle
@RubberSoulBand erm – I’m no great at all that – the only thing that springs to mind is our tagline which is The SouthEast’s Premier Function Band
@BobbyLlew OMG that’s tough. “CarPool, interesting in car conversations.” Any good?
@causeperfect Existing brand – Asics wd be ever so aspirational especially 4 strapline :o) But Catalyst wd be the one I’d instinctively choose

QUESTION TWO:
@DiFlatt What is your favourite brand of all time?

@Ben_Jarelbo My favourite brand of all time? ……. Casio. I used to buy their gadget watches all the time.
@DiFlatt Casio is good as by constantly having new gadgets it made you attentive and purchase – just like fundraisers must.
@Causeperfect my favourite brand of all time has to be Apple
@DiFlatt Apple is good as constantly innovates keeping our attention so we always look forward to what next – like fundraisers must.
@kevinkibble Black Sheep or Harley D!
@DiFlatt hmmnnn I rather like the Harley D as it is attention grabbing, expedient, and gets you from a to b – like fundraisers must !
@jasonslater favourite brand? So many to choose from but it has be a close call between Google and Subway
@DiFlatt ah now Subway is a good one – as they give you what you want not something they already packaged just as fundraisers must do.
@mennard
fav Brand …..well Coca Cola I guess and if I were a brand it would be Yorkshire Tea …if I was an image Angel of The North
@DiFlatt Angel of the North is good, memorable, iconic and instantly recognisable – just like charity brands must be. [though good as an image it is immoveable and unchangeable so doesn’t work on all the levels we need to in terms of fundraising]
@arianneross i know! nikon! 😀
@DiFlatt Nikon is good as it is known across the globe for doing great things – just like the best charities are.
@RoxyMartinique Marmite – but you’ll either love or hate the idea
@DiFlatt Marmite‘s good because love it or hate it there’s an instant response leading to direct action – like the best fundraising!
@amandasanter Nike – ethics aside, they understand the consumer and their connection with sport and how we think about ourselves and our goals.
@DiFlatt Nike’s good as their understanding of customers and their goals means they lead their field – just like fundraisers must.
@amandasanter Also insight into customer needs and motivations vital as per Maslow and @Markyphillips blog http://bit.ly/WbfnD – all about people
@DiFlatt Yes and to their aspirations. We all aspire to something, to be better, to do better, to effect change.

@arianneross what’s your fave brand of all time? 🙂
@DiFlatt my favourite brand of all time is One Water simple, life changing, and forever! I aspire!
@causeperfect absolutely! Great innovator, great sense of showmanship and above all else fun! Good basic ingredients for fundraising, eh?

QUESTION THREE
@DiFlatt Branding ? If you could only wear one outfit (inc accessories) for the next ten years what would it be? Would you lose the essence of you?

@Ben_Jarelbo I’m just a plain & simple GEORGE kind of guy.
@DiFlatt and would you still be you if you wore the same GEORGE for the next ten years? Brands need to be moveable, changeable, usable.
@Ben_Jarelbo Oh! Outfit. I misread it. Can’t see it applies to men. Most would happily wear the same thing forever. Or until SHE says otherwise.
@DiFlatt (smile) yes outfit – the one same unchangeable outfit for ten years. Could you live with that in all situations? I think not.

@Mennard suit……predictable …
@DiFlatt the same suit, shirt, tie, socks, shoes for ten years.! A brand that wouldn’t be good for the beach or for swimming hey?
@Mennard the brand says that I dont get any free time !
@DiFlatt Indeed. Difficult to relax in a suit.
@Mennard smile …it was your question ..otherwise its white T-shirts and shorts and sandals otherwise !
@DiFlatt I know, am doing blog on branding and want to show how unrealistic it is to have a totally unchangeable brand, using selves as eg.
@Mennard I remember I put in angel of the north last night all that effort and you have forgotten me !
@DiFlatt no I haven’t, have already put Angel of the North in. That was different question.
@DiFlatt yesterday’s question was – if you were a brand, what would you be (smiley smiley).
@Mennard ok it was …I agree 😉

@DebboDebbo jeans and slightly fancy cardi – can be worn with flat or high shoes and dressed up or down with accessories
@DiFlatt hi, no change of accessories or shoes. The point is, being stuck with one immoveable unchangeable brand does not work for you.
@DebboDebbo i couldn’t do it-even if u don’t realize u express yrself by change of jewellery, bag, shoes-even hairstyle
@DiFlatt the point exactly ! No Brand should be unchangeable as you wouldn’t be expressing the essence of yourself – or your charity.
@DebboDebbo Yep, just like real life

MY CONCLUSION

Your charity, your brand – how you picture it, talk about it, and frame it has to be dependent on the audience you are currently talking to. Your brand needs to be fluid, moveable and accessible as well as memorable.

Memorable is no longer enough!

DON’T EVER FORGET THAT FROM ONE BLADE OF GRASS WE CAN GROW A LAWN

Every £1 donated to charity goes towards changing someone’s life or positively changing our environment. My charity www.epilepsy.org.uk, and every charity – we need you.

KEEP ON GIVING. YOUR GIVING COUNTS!
Di x

Advertisements

4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Very thought provoking Di. Made sense even to someone not in any kind of marketing, like myself. My charity NSPCC has changed its logo a couple of times, subtly I grant you, just as the need for its services seems to have changed over the years.
Good job Di
Steve

Comment by Steve Carter

Thank you Steve.

Comment by diflatt

very good information, thank you so much for sharing!

Comment by fortheloveofcupcakes

Thank you.

Comment by diflatt




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: