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Jan 31, 2023 BY Gardiner Rhoderick, former Mighty Citizen Branding, Marketing

How Branding Impacts Revenue for Mission-Driven Organizations

Mighty Insights

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All organizations have a brand, but not every organization recognizes whether it’s working for or against them. In an environment where engagement is competitive, a powerful brand is the most important tool organizations have to differentiate themselves from competitors. Your goal is to secure a strong, positive reputation—and it’s all about reputation.

Your revenue is the result of engagement, which is a direct result of how others perceive you. Every time your organization is positioned in front of a potential supporter, you build on their perception of you. As you improve recognition and recall of your brand with those small touches, you’re also attempting to build trust. That trust is the foundation of a brand. It’s not a free-flowing resource by any means, but it’s the cost for engagement.

Brand vs. Branding

Before exploring the relationship between revenue and branding, let’s first consider the elements of a brand—and how those are different from branding.

Brand is the intangible understanding living in the minds of the audience.

Branding are the pieces you can control (made up of logo, tagline, etc.) to influence or manipulate the brand.

If your brand is your reputation, then branding is the work of influencing that reputation.”

It’s natural for us to believe that we’re in control of our brand, but your brand is something that is far more intangible than your logo, tagline, mission statement, etc. Instead, a better perspective is to know the things you can control.

Again—If your brand is your reputation, then branding is the work of influencing that reputation. Any public-facing arms or facets of your organization can accomplish just that. If you carefully manage the experience audiences have interacting with your brand, over time, you are paving the way for increased engagement.

If you had to name organizations you consider iconic, what are you recalling about them? What makes them iconic? How does a pink ribbon become a widely-recognized symbol for a breast cancer foundation? How can a specific shade of a color evoke such strong school spirit? Building that kind of brand power (and subsequently, engagement) requires time and intention with your audiences. Your audiences know what type of organization they want to engage with. It’s up to you to align your brand to meet them where they are.

Pro tip: Use a messaging platform to solidify your entire messaging ecosystem. A messaging platform can help you define or refocus your “why,” document insights into your messaging strategy, and concretely define who you say you are.

Consistency is Key, but Unity is Required

Brand consistency creates trust. Through the eyes of your audience, there’s comfort in a consistent message. If you put in the time and effort to create meaningful touches with those that come across your brand, you are slowly making an impression that will cut through the noise and resonate on recall. And if this one tenant of marketing is true, then so must be another: inconsistency breeds distrust. If there are inconsistencies in the way someone interacts with your brand over time, it sends a message that you don’t know their wants, needs, expectations, etc., enough to deserve their attention when it really matters.

Consistency is disarming. When you have a persistent, resonant message, you invite audiences to invest in an emotional response because they don’t have to second-guess who you are. Instead, you’ve shown them already by being unwavering in a unified message about your organization. Having a united, engaged in-house culture can create a natural iteration of branding, where ideas to meet audience expectations in new, surprising ways become a streamlined norm.

Connecting Emotional and Financial Investment

Branding helps people decide how to invest their emotional and financial resources. Is your brand encouraging them to invest in you? Creating brand affinity—meeting your audience where they see purpose and value, and sustaining that—will build trust, repeat business, word-of-mouth referrals, and more predictable revenue. This is why building a brand is fundamental to your organization’s revenue goals.

Here are three ways the act of branding can help influence revenue:

  1. Emotions connect (and convert). We can’t reiterate that fact enough; emotion is a powerful persuader. Build customer loyalty by genuinely appealing to your audiences’ emotional needs. Over time, they will pay more and more often, leading to higher engagement and revenue.
  2. The experience matters. Every single touchpoint you have is an opportunity—an email, a social post, an article, etc.—to sustain positive engagement with your brand. Done right, each experience can reaffirm your audience’s decision to support your mission, product or service. And keep them coming back for more.
  3. Ditch the sale (sometimes). And build brand equity. Mission-driven organizations don’t often see themselves as dabbling in “sales,” but the reality is, asking anyone to donate, join, or buy something requires a sales-like strategy. For example, if you’re an organization with valuable info or content, give it away. Yep—give it away! By making the barrier to entry easy (or free) for your audience, you build brand equity as a go-to resource. The reward? Higher engagement for you and more paths to financial returns.

Branding is a long-term, never-done, investment in your organization’s future. It doesn’t always have a clear cut path to increased revenue. But, when done consistently and authentically, branding can have a lasting impact on your financial success.

Download The Mighty Branding Toolkit

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