The Confusion of an Unclear Brand

Do you send a clear message?

When someone does not connect with a brand, product or organization, they are not as likely to buy (into) it.  Lack of connection can also lead to product confusion.  This is why some companies try to create a similar name (or logo) as a famous brand.  This is also why trademark and copyright lawyers are very busy!

I have a funny story about my own brand confusion.  I recently moved to the Midtown community of Atlanta, GA.  I got confused with 2 different services for the Midtown community.  I am familiar with Midtown Blue, a community public safety force, which is a group of off-duty police officers who provide additional security.   I have also recently been hearing a lot about Midtown Alliance, whose mission is to improve and sustain the quality of life for those who live, work and play in Midtown.  I got them confused.  Last week, an opportunity presented itself to call for the help of the friendly officers of Midtown Blue. There was an alarm box (for the whole building) that was beeping in my apartment complex.  Not an emergency, but a perfect reason to call Midtown Blue.  I realized that I had mistakenly called Midtown Alliance (thinking it was Midtown Blue) when the confused woman on the phone wondered how she could help fix a broken alarm system.  She clarified for me the difference and I now know that Midtown Blue is a service of Midtown Alliance, but that they provide different services.  Easy mistake to make (that’s the story I’m going with!).  I will not get confused again.

I have also heard of other people getting some local nonprofit organizations confused.  They may figure it out eventually, but this is telling.  If someone does not immediately recall your organization’s name, the population that/who you serve and your mission, are you marketing yourself properly?  If people are not identifying you accurately, they are most likely not connecting with you. If they are not connecting with you, they are most likely not going to give their time, money and energy to your cause.

It is important to send a clear message of who you are, what you do and what you want to accomplish.  What impact do you plan on making in the population you serve, in the communities that you serve and in the greater world?   Make sure that this is clear in your mission statement as well as your vision statement.  Make sure that they are separate.  And definitely make sure that everyone connected with your organization can recite both!

I am Jeanne Ward.  I am a nonprofit management consultant.  I work with nonprofit organizations to help them with the foundational structure of their organization so that they can move from their mission to their vision and do what’s important.  I want to help nonprofit organizations monitor their outcomes to show their impact!  I eventually want nonprofits to connect with for profits to make a greater impact on the world.  Who are you?  Who is your organization?


Photo credit to: Microsoft Office Clip Art

Jeanne Ward is a Consultant and Personal Strategist who brings her knowledge of psychology, strategy and personal fulfillment to her current work. Jeanne started her career by helping mentally ill inmates to ‘get their lives back on track’ as they integrated back into society from jail in NYC. She leveraged this experience with a Social Work degree to manage teams who were supporting people trying to move back into the workforce. She later lived in Atlanta, GA and Frankfurt, Germany where she began consulting with nonprofit organizations to guide them on their strategy, volunteer development, and organizational development as well as to support the development of their leaders and board of directors. After the jolt of a divorce, Jeanne found herself doing a lot of soul-searching. Digging deep, she arrived at a new-found appreciation for herself and the world around her. This journey taught her that when we start with improving ourselves, the benefits multiply. Jeanne realized that her strengths of strategic thinking, relationship building, and implementation planning could be combined into her ongoing passion of personal leadership. Hence, her personal strategy work was born. Jeanne helps men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are fed up with their corporate jobs to create fulfilling professional and personal lives through the development of a personal strategic plan. This work ensures that her clients identify their professional and personal goals as well as create a plan to make those goals a reality. Jeanne is also the Executive Director of the Atlanta Road Trotters Kid’s Running Club, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for children to build a foundation of running health and fitness which leads to a better connection to the organized running community as well as a strong foundation of Discipline, Self-Esteem, Respect and Team Work. She has also co-authored a workbook on networking, founded and organized the National Association of Social Workers-Georgia-sponsored ‘Social Service Career Network’ and organized a summit for the National Alliance for Mentally Ill attended by over 100 organizations from 6 Atlanta counties. Previously, she sat on the board of NASW GA as their Secretary as well as on the board of NAMI GA/DeKalb as their Co-President, was a senior consultant for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and helped to run a capital campaign for an independent school. Jeanne has an MSW from Hunter School of Social Work (City University of New York), an MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) and a BA in Psychology from Emory University. Jeanne lives in Atlanta with her ten-year-old son.

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