Branding is “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind,” according to the Business Dictionary. “Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”
In other words, branding is necessary for nonprofit news organizations wishing to cultivate an audience and support.
When considering branding, independent publishers should think about both the visual identity of their brand and consistent phrasing to describe their organization, its value and what it does.
Step One: Define your brand attributes
- Identify your brand’s personality
- This not this, difference between NYT and Vox
- Create key messaging. Organizations that have the budget should consider hiring an outside creative agency to help put the required assets together. There are several very low-priced and reliable services on the web that can build a logo and identity for a couple of hundred dollars.
Step Two: Create a brand strategy
- Include your mission statement, target market, how you stand out from the competition, and other brand attributes
- Study this Introduction to Business Branding
Step Three: Create a strong visual identity by creating a standard set of graphics that are used consistently across the organization’s digital, print and multimedia assets and communications (e.g., the website, letterhead, marketing materials, YouTube videos).
- Create a strong, simple logo. Logos should be developed in multiple sizes and formats, with a standard set of brand-associated colors.
- Use a mood board
- Define brand standards for marketing materials
- Create a visual brand style guide. See these Brand Style Guide Examples
Step Four: Establish your brand’s voice, creating and sticking to specific language that describes your organization in your content, communications and website.
- Decide how your brand should be perceived through your website, social media, and marketing campaigns
- Create a content style guide. Example: Mailchimp Content Style Guide
Step Five: Build brand equity. When finalizing the visual and text branding elements, it’s important to test them with your target audiences to ensure that the values actually communicated by your materials match your perceptions. Once you have assembled your branding package it is also highly advisable to keep files and copies in a shared drive that can be easily accessed by all parties that need the information.
While an organization cannot control how it is described and referenced outside of its products and social networks, it can still ensure that its values and messaging are conveyed through consistent and proactive brand management.