Branding has become the holy grail of marketing. Everyone talks about it, but what exactly are they talking about? Logos and taglines? Graphic design? A distinctive photography style?
Branding is all of these and much more.
In fact, your brand is every interaction members and potential members have with you. From looking for information on your website to reading your emails and blog posts to talking to whoever answers your phones, people are engaging with your organization's brand.
For associations, branding has a unique extra dimension: instead of representing a product or service, your brand represents your members. They need to see their needs and values reflected in your brand.
So, how do you build a brand that accurately reflects who you and your members are? You do it by aligning five core brand elements.
1. Compelling Messaging
In our previous post, we looked at how to develop clear, concise, and memorable messaging that focuses on the specific ways you can help members become more successful. Messaging like this answers a crucial question:
What do you want members and potential members to think, feel and do?
2. A Distinctive Logo
Most logos are not like fine wine--they don’t improve with age. Instead, trapped in the past, they become stale. If your logo hasn’t changed in many years but your organization and industry have, it’s time for a change.
What should guide the development of your renewed logo? Ask a few of your long-standing and most engaged members to find words that distil your essence: words like professional, innovative, responsive, and forward-looking. By focusing on these core qualities, you can avoid creating a logo that is merely trendy.
3. An Engaging Tag Line
An engaging tagline points not just to what you do but to the value you bring. For example, our company, inMotion, uses the tagline, "We Create Experiences." All of our association client projects, from videos to websites to membership campaigns, contribute to a consistent and positive brand experience for the target audience. This in turn builds trust between the association and its members--and trust is the basis of a long-term relationship.
4. Brand Videos
In most markets, video now equals marketing. It’s everywhere, promoting and selling everything.
Video is ideal for telling your brand story, which is why website visitors spend 40% more time on pages with video than on ones without. Here are some examples of high-impact association brand videos from inMotion clients:
5. Distinctive Graphic Design and Photography
Your brand’s visual identity will be most fully expressed on your website, which is the best place to start a rebrand. You’re looking for graphic design that takes its cues from your logo and messaging. In general, simple is better than complex and less is better than more.
Consider investing in original photography to support your brand. Royalty-free photography is generic by nature; original photography can have a unique look and feel that’s instantly recognizable as part of your brand. As an example, check out the FPAC website.
Jamie McIntosh is President of Ottawa-based inMotion Video and Digital Marketing. Since 1979, inMotion has helped dozens of associations grow, restructure and innovate. Clients include the Canadian Automobile Association, Canadian Council on Aviation and Aerospace, Consumer Health Products Canada, the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, the Canadian Wood Council, the Canadian Curling Association, Forest Products Association of Canada, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and many others.
For more information about inMotion, contact Account Executive Sarah Walters.
How customers and members share experiences with an association can critically impact an organization's brand. At 2018 CSAE National Conference & Showcase, Marc Gordon will be running a session entitled Selling Happiness: How to Create Great Customer Experiences. Much of what he'll be delivering is relevant to developing and maintaining a strong brand via direct relationships with customers and members. Don't miss it!