Get on the same wavelength: Building buy-in for rebranding
“I know our organization needs to rebrand– but how do I build buy-in from others on our staff and board?”
This is probably the question I get asked most frequently when I give a workshop or speak on a panel about nonprofit branding. Getting everyone on the same page about a significant change in communications takes time and patience; that’s for sure. So how do you, the person who knows change needs to happen, help others arrive at that conclusion, too? Here are three ways to spark a constructive conversation about rebranding.
Take a hard look at yourself—from the outside in.
Staff and board members rarely have time to pause, reflect, and look at what’s going on around them. But taking a look at how your organization and others in your space (peers, competitors, partners, etc) are communicating can be time well-spent.
Periodically (I prefer once a year), lay the materials you’ve been producing out on a table and review them from a 20,000 foot view. Don’t forget to include a mix of items from your programs, fundraising, advocacy, and events. What are you doing well? What’s not working? Do they look, feel and sound consistent? Professional? Inspiring? (Don’t forget to print out pages from social media, your website, and other online stuff- or review it on screen.)
Next, Google some of the peers, partners, and other orgs you compete with for funding, clients, or attention. How are they communicating? Do they use Google adwords? Are their websites clear and well done? Are they using social media wisely? What are they communicating about themselves- and how do your communications stack up?
You may find this discussion immediately surfaces a sense of agreement and motivates your leadership to explore making changes. It might also illustrate that you’re really doing things well, in which case it may not be smart to make major changes. Either way, you’ll be opening up a productive discussion about communications that will help get everyone on the same page.
Provide them with evidence that rebranding really helps other organizations.
Rebranding takes time, typically costs money, and is hard work. As if those aren’t barriers enough, many people also really wonder what the tangible benefits will be.
In early 2014, we completed a research study on the impact of rebranding on a nonprofit’s revenue, fundraising, programs recruitment. It’s free, not impossible to read, and includes findings gleaned from hundreds of nonprofits who’ve rebranded in recent years. Read more about it and download your copy here.
In short, rebranding is, by and large, a good thing for organizations that undertake it. It’s particularly helpful if an organization has a new strategic plan, fundraising plan, or new staff leadership.
Don’t force the issue.
Rebranding shouldn’t be taken lightly, or rushed. Your organization shouldn’t have to do regularly. When the time is right, you’ll want to do it well, and make sure people are truly invested in its success. It’s better to share resources, articles, and engage in discussions that don’t push an agenda. Instead, let your leadership arrive at their own conclusions, and provide them with resources and discussions that help them get there.
You can find a lot of articles that might help here in our blog, and even several free webinars you can watch and share on our website here.