Branding and Messages

Relevant MessagesThis morning’s election news dug into the divide that’s fracturing the U.S. Hearing the stats on how deep and broad these divisions are—rural vs. urban, men vs. women, those with post-secondary education vs. those without—wasn’t surprising. But it was distressing, especially as I contemplate where we go from here.

So many organizations have ignored the chaos we’ve lived in during this extended election ramp up. In sharp contrast, StoryCorps has communicated with non-partisan honesty and heart:

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Nancy Schwartz on November 8, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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distractedHow many times did you get distracted already today?

It’s no secret that we need to communicate quickly, briefly and on point to grab the attention of folks in a near constant stage of distraction. That’s been one of the most significant fundraising challenges since the advent of the Internet, compounded over time by our reliance on more content on more platforms on more devices more of the time. But the first step to connecting in our age of distraction is understanding what’s going on.

Consider your habits. How much attention do you give your 8-year-old daughter’s first-time request to host a sleepover, your BFF’s distress over her mom’s increasing dementia, or your colleague’s wrangles with her boss? For most of us, the answer is “not as much as I would like to.”

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Nancy Schwartz on May 17, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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via GIPHY

Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring this morning, and I’m thrilled we’re not going to get stuck in the snow. In fact, it’s melting fast in the 50-degree sun right outside my New Jersey window.

Your marketing doesn’t have to stay stuck either. Instead, turn to comic genius Bill Murray for guidance on breaking out of your same old, same old marketing approach. He’ll help you take the rest of the year by storm.

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Nancy Schwartz on February 2, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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connectWelcome back to our new Do-It-Differently series, featuring fresh ideas from the field. Thanks to today’s idea generator—Todd McPherson, development director, IFCS.

We revised our tone and content to be more direct, frank and engaging—like a one-to-one conversation: For example, we’re showing results of donor generosity (rather than talking about them) and sharing organizational changes in progress. 

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Nancy Schwartz on December 8, 2015 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Passion is Contagious & ConnectsLast summer, my husband and I finally visited The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, which had been on our go-to list for a decade. It’s the former country estate of noted turn-of-the-20th-century designer Gustav Stickley, a leader of “the Arts and Crafts movement in decorative arts, home building, and furnishing styles.” It’s the only house Stickley ever built for himself, so showcases his design esthetic, utopian vision and radical approach to daily life.

Here’s what surprised and delighted me:

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Nancy Schwartz on May 28, 2015 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments

Flickr: Bradley JohnsonHere’s how I partnered with a wonderful client organization to develop relevant, memorable messages (and guided graphics to match) that are bringing employees, supporters, partners and participants closer and motivating them to get more involved. YOU can do it too

The Challenge: Outdated Messages Were Deterring Key Actions: Registering, Donating, Partnering 

I recently completed an all-new message platform (tagline, positioning statement, talking points or key messages at organization and program level and elevator conversation) for the largest human services organization in Massachusetts.

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Nancy Schwartz on May 20, 2015 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments

Break-the-Rules CommunicationsWake up, girls and boys! It’s time to change our ways.

Here’s the thing: I’m a rule follower, and I bet you are too. After all, nonprofit communications isn’t the Wild West. But…

Rules are made to be broken, at least once in a while. And as much as I believe in defining clear goals to guide your right-now marketing decisions, and staying consistent within that framework for as long as its relevant, sometimes you just need to bust out. Here’s how:
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Nancy Schwartz on April 8, 2015 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments

Nonprofit Branding

Thanks to guest blogger Caryn Stein, VP at Network for Good

I’m so eager to share with you the incredible learning experience I had at the recent Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) . I learned all about nonprofit rebranding via Farra Trompeter, Vice President of Big Duck, and Will Nolan, Senior Vice President of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD). Here are a few key takeaways to help you understand the potential of brand for our causes, and knowing when it’s time for a change.

First Things First: What’s a Brand?
Your nonprofit’s brand represents your identity, your promise to donors and constituents, and the consistency of your work. The principles outlined here are relevant whether you’re shaping a first-time (intentional) brand for your organization, or you’re rebranding.

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Guest Blogger on March 25, 2015 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Branding Case StudyHow one organizations shows, rather than tells, its unique value and impact (a.k.a. brand)…
Bittersweet news from the Upwell team. I opened this email tentatively this morning, a little afraid of what I’d be getting. I’ve followed Upwell with great excitement since its founding four years ago—learning so much from its fresh, collaborative and completely open approach to ocean conservation.

I’ve also been thrilled (comms nerd that I am) by Upwell’s practical but inspired communications approach, built on authenticity with a dollop of humor. Take Upwell’s tagline, The Ocean is our client. Seldom do I see an organization so sharply and succinctly convey its passion, approach and hoped-for impact in a way both provocative and memorable.

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Nancy Schwartz on January 13, 2015 in Branding and Messages | 3 comments
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17-year-old Malala Yousafzai gave an unforgettable speech as she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize today. Despite her youth, Malala’s words show her insight and communications finesse! In fact, this core message from the speech is an unbeatable combo of passion, specificity and brevity.

Use this triad as a checklist for your organization’s messages. Less IS more—much harder to craft but totally worth it.

Nancy Schwartz on December 10, 2014 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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