By Rick Dunham, Founder and Chairman of Dunham+Company

In an increasingly cluttered market and changing fundraising landscape, it’s imperative to recognize the need to take your brand to its next level of growth.
Differentiating your organization will build long-term sustainability and greater brand effectiveness.

What is a Brand Strategy?

As enduring brands—meaning ministries, organizations, and companies—have long recognized, success isn’t merely derived through a product, service, event, or even testimony, but the corporate vision they represent. One that promises a desired outcome that’s directly aligned with the target audience’s shared values and deepest felt needs. And it’s this that defines the power of an effective Brand Strategy.

Contrary to what most people believe, Brand Strategy doesn’t refer to the development of a corporate identity (logo), or a design manual, but goes so much deeper to establish greater brand equity, or value, for the organization as a whole.

By positioning brands on a compelling point of difference that they alone are perceived to own, it provides new brand relevance that ultimately drives demand and sets them apart in an increasingly cluttered market. As it does, it not only differentiates aspirationally, but functionally. It creates a disciplined marketing framework that overarches and informs all internal and external representation to ensure single-minded, consistent messaging. No gray.

Brand Strategy Benefits

A Brand Strategy:

Establishes a Brand Positioning. Through research and understanding of the brand’s strengths, objectives, mission and vision, you first determine your ministry’s unique territory that you are to own in the mind of your target audience.

In one word, it will provide a laser-sharp focus that gives context to why the brand exists and will inform a core benefit to those you want to reach.

Identifies your Brand Value Proposition. Otherwise known as a “brand promise,” a brand proposition will create a subliminal rationale for choosing you over another, by aligning your ministry with a single-minded benefit that’s highly valued by your target audience.

In one statement, it represents both a rational truth about your brand that’s aligned emotively to the aspirations of your target audience. As a result, it does the heavy lift that cuts through by informing and empowering all brand communication.

Further, through ongoing reinforcement of this brand promise, all individual offerings of your ministry will also “inherit” the positive credentials of this. Over time the target market’s perception is that “because this service, program, or event is associated with your brand, it’s got to be good!”

Aligns the brand with a distinct vision. As indicated above, great brands aren’t just great logo designs, taglines, or even advertising campaigns. Ultimately, the brand’s new positioning creates an empowering vision that captures what your target audience is searching for—whether they’re conscious of it or not.

Furthermore, the brand’s vision needs to be equally relevant to all stakeholders, including those within the organization. One that will not only empower them but create that critical alignment for internal cohesion and focus. It creates brand believers, inside and out.

Lifts brand reliance from short-term tactical communication. In the absence of identifying a brand’s point of difference, there’s an ineffective (and exhausting) reliance on other components to both sustain the brand and to also cut through. This often only achieves short-term effectiveness, resulting in a repetitive cycle of generating new concepts and ideas all over again.

The good news is that through the direction of a Brand Strategy, it relieves the reliance on other products, services, or ministries to do the heavier lift that the brand “corporately” should do. Everything will be led by, and aligned under, the brand’s compelling, single-minded brand promise.

Creates direction for all brand communication. A Brand Strategy provides a new road map forward that guides and consistently informs all communication—for the long term. Having crystal-clear understanding of the “why” of your brand, it creates one voice and face. That means no confused brand “schizophrenia.” Instead, whether communicating the brand as a whole or through individual tactical offerings, the direction consistently informs and empowers all brand touchpoints.

This is the power of an effective Brand Strategy.