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April 13, 2022

Mission Multiplier: Brand Building During Uncertainty

Jane Pfeiffer

Hi, I’m Jane Pfeiffer, founder of Fieldtrip. You know, charitable work builds a sense of community and empowers a group of people to rally around a common goal or mission. Yet, as our work builds community, why is it that we so often feel alone, when the work that you do is more relevant and more needed than ever before? But it feels like people are caring less. I don’t know about you, but when the world around me feels uncertain, I tend to contract and pull in and focus on the things, the work, that gives me a sense of control. Well, don’t take that advice, don’t do as I do. Instead, try these three tactics to not only keep your focus where it matters, but help build your brand during a time of uncertainty.

First, dig for the gold. That gold lies with your audience. Sit and listen, ask questions. And listen. Listening is a key point. What is on the minds of your different audience groups? What are their worries? Those worries likely have very little to do with what you do or the services that you provide. But dig until you’re immersed in their emotions. Because these emotions, not the operational side of the organization, or the processes, or the data point, or the to-do list make the difference. The pot of gold is the emotions that they carry, both in relationship to your organization, but to the world around them. We’re supposedly post-COVID, but the world is still changing faster than ever.

Another tip is to put on blinders. Don’t look inward, but use those blinders to keep you from being distracted by competitors. I know that’s a strange word to use in the nonprofit category. But there are competitors for people’s attention, people’s wallet, and even your beneficiaries where they can go for support. But brand leaders do just that – they lead. They have a bigger idea. And as the economy changes, our reality is changing quickly. How does your brand and mission stay relevant as discretionary dollars are going to tighten? What relevant need will resonate with your audience? How can you support those needs and ideas and wants proactively, and demonstrate action? Do it now, before someone else does that leading your brand.

Finally, make a big and bold promise. Your brand is not about you or what you do. Your brand is about the impact that you make and how it makes the world a better place. And your audiences have to believe that, so shoot for the stars. Don’t be conservative, don’t be safe, make a big and bold promise to the world. That’s it for this week.