Great brands are singular. They stand for one often profoundly simple thing or idea. David Doyle’s campaign for Volkswagen in the 1960’s, arguably the greatest ad campaign of the 20th century, made VW stand for one thing: small.

Modern branding still reflects this premise. Recent work for Subaru ends with the one word concept: love. BMW owns a different space with the idea of joy. Nonprofits would be smart to follow suit, yet so few do.

Most nonprofits deal with complex causes about which they are passionate. As a result, the products and services they offer tend to grow via offshoot and initiative. With most, a once core service has grown to a bundle of services. The same applies to fundraising initiatives. This renders multi-layered ambiguous communication.

In an economy that presents greater need than ever, and a shrinking donor base, consider the power of singularity. Being known for doing one thing done amazingly well is far better than generating general awareness of five less remarkable feats, and far more memorable.

I’m not suggesting that you overhaul operational programs or fundraising basics. I do urge nonprofits to look to their organization’s roots when considering external communications. Then deliver a singular brand message. Given continued economic chaos, people simply can’t absorb much more.


This entry was written by Kevin Smith, posted on August 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm, filed under Nonprofits, Social Consciousness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

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