How to Make Your Organization Stand Out — Lessons Learned from 9 Cultural Gems

Don’t waste a moment in reviewing Raising Institutional Visibility, a useful and succinct guide to building awareness and brand, based on case studies of nine preeminent public institutions from major libraries and museums to universities and a community center. When you do, you’ll find:

  • Best practices for expanding outreach, building and maintaining reputation
  • Strategies for promoting scholarship and expertise
  • Case studies on institutional branding
  • Tips on structuring strategic planning to be most productive, market wise.

Key lessons include:

  • All institutions known to be "cultural gems" are reputed to offer a unique or highest-quality resource or service, and make it widely available.
    • How can your nonprofit strengthen programs and services, and broaden the audience without losing focus?
  • Missions and goals are clear, concise and audience-focused.
    • Too often, nonprofit missions don’t relate directly to audiences. Can you bring your mission closer to your target audiences?
  • Brands are used uniformly, and consistently, with institutions with reputations for different aspects of their work (let’s say two very different programs, with distinct audiences) use their strongest brands (for those two programs) to promote the identity of the organization as a whole.
    • How can you direct divergent brands, and audience support, to benefit your organization as a whole?
  • Last, but not least (most important, if you ask me) — Leaders value communications, from the institution outward and the audiences into the institution. Communication as dialogue.
    • You can work to motivate your leadership to understand and support more proactive communications.

I recommend digesting the complete article, which is brief but extremely valuable. And thanks to CommunicationWorks for sharing its research and insights.

More guidance on building understanding and support of marketing initiatives here:

Nancy Schwartz on December 4, 2006 in Arts, Branding and Messages, Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications | 1 comment
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  • Terrific document – thanks for posting!!!

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