Listen to your own people and you’ll stand out
I’m going to say something I repeat over and over again when talking about brand and communications strategy. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to be true to yourself. This applies to people as well as to organizations.
Too often we see someone trying not to stand out, to blend in with the crowd. I get it, doing something different can be intimidating because people will notice you. Then you’ll have to engage, and maybe even prove yourself. My body temperature is rising just thinking about it. But you know as well as I do that if you want to experience something meaningful, you have to engage. If you want to be remembered, you have to stand out.
It’s the same with organizational identity. We see countless organizations look at what others have done and try to imitate it, all but disappearing from the landscape. And then we wonder how their fundraising is going to go if no one can remember which one a crowd of lookalikes they are.
But how can an organization be itself? By turning to its most precious resource. Its people.
Bring together people who care about the organization, the ones who have a stake in its success. That can include staff, board, volunteers, community advocates, and clients. What’s so important about this to them?
That’s what you have to spend your time figuring out. Because that’s where communication strategy and identity live and grow. Getting to the core of why this matters to these people, and what they imagine for the future tells you everything you need to know. It’s not easy to do. In fact it’s hard, that why you bring in someone like us.
And it’s where you find what makes you different. An organization like the North East Community Center is vital for the northeast corridor of Dutchess County, an area in the midst of five deserts – food, transportation, education, childcare, and housing. NECC already speaks to the people there. The goal isn’t to change what they’re saying. It’s to focus it.
It’s a rewarding process, discovering that an organization is like the warmth of the sun to the people it serves. To see our project page on NECC, click here»