Is your brand working for you?

By Ben Ryder Smith

As featured in Charity Comms by Ben Ryder-Smith 

Some things in life are difficult, or even impossible, to quantify, pin down or measure. That doesn’t mean these things aren’t important.

Take brand for example, our specialist subject. Do you truly know how effective yours is?

Tough one to answer isn’t it?

That’s why we thought the ability to compare your brand’s effectiveness against a suitable benchmark would be useful. Especially considering as an agency we are increasingly asked in varying contexts to produce such a measure.

With this in mind, we have developed a free Brand Effectiveness Score Card intended to help charity professionals bridge the gap between how they think they are doing and how they are actually doing.

The eight levers of brand

An effective brand should be a driver for your charity to achieve its corporate and strategic goals, and our Score Card looks at the eight levers which research and 20 years of brand-building experience have shown are at the heart of success.

How well does brand help drive the things that help deliver corporate strategy?
What part does brand play in decision making across the organisation?
How well does your brand engage your core audiences?
How well has brand been adopted across the organisation?
How well does your verbal and visual brand do its job?
How well are you applying your brand?
How well is your brand set for the future?
How much do you love your brand?

Origins and brand classifications

Over the years many clients have expressed their desire for a tool to assess their brand’s performance, and our Score Card has been built to act as that litmus test.

By drawing on the Brand Report Card, developed by the Harvard Business Review, for initial inspiration we have been able to fulfill this demand.

Those behind the Report Card found few brand managers were capable of objectively assessing brand strengths and weaknesses, as well as identifying relevant factors for effective brand measurement, which in turn led to the development of ten traits to help produce overarching assessments.

We have taken this one step further, pinpointing eight levers to produce brand overviews, spot areas for deeper examination, and importantly to help participants understand where to focus time and money to make their charity brand more effective.

The possible outcomes of the Score Card are detailed below:

brilliant brand is firing on all cylinders, representing your charity in the best possible light, engaging your audiences to open their minds and wallets to your cause. Advising more of the same certainly will do no harm. However, our research suggests brands that are not afraid to make iconic moves will prosper in the long run.

bright brand is serving your charity well. However, there are things you could do to raise your game. Change is important and bold moves are critical to long term success. Whatever you decide the future looks bright. With the correct strategic brand maneuvers it could be brilliant.

flickering brand suggests it’s stick or twist time. It could take the next step and ignite into a bright brand, or it could be on the cusp of decline. You will need to define the strategic reason(s) for change in order to propel the organisation forward.

dull brand isn’t working for you and is not helping your impact and ability to champion your cause. Minor brand tweaks may no longer be sufficient to protect against changing market forces. It’s time to take action.

void brand, it isn’t supporting your work and is actively getting in your way. You need to make changes and you need to make them urgently.

How can your classification help you?

After completing the Score Card, participants will have access to a visualisation of their classification.

This will show their brands overall classification, as well as how their brand is performing in relation to the eight pillars, pinpointing those specific areas for deeper examination, as well as the areas most in need of time and (or) money.

These results will also be collected anonymously to formulate a brand effectiveness benchmarking report for the sector, to be published later in 2019.

The report will be available to all charity communications professionals, providing an overview of the brand issues and opportunities experienced across the sector, as well as giving participants a feel for how their brand compares with their counterparts.

The aim and hope is that this could then help charities to move themselves forward, by benefiting from a brand that works more effectively and efficiently for both the organisation in question and their beneficiaries.

Assess your brand’s effectiveness and get your Score Card classification here.