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So, What’s The Big Deal About Branding?

Last fall, our team spent a lot of time, energy and money becoming the first Brand Academy Certified team in Canada. We believe branding is a big deal (and it’s a whole lot larger in scope than a logo).

Over the past eight years, some of our most rewarding work has been coming alongside organizations to help them stop wasting money on marketing that was ineffective simply because they don’t have brand clarity. When a new client comes to us asking for help creating a new brochure, often they don’t have a brochure problem, but a brand problem. They’re not crystal-clear on how to talk about their organization, what is unique about them, how their competitors are positioned, and who they’re best positioned to serve. It’s a branding problem. Once we work through these brand pieces, their marketing efforts – like a well-crafted brochure – can really hit the mark. For our non-profit and ministry clients, we know that donor dollars are hard won, and good stewardship is critical in changing times for non-profit organizations.

What is “Brand”?

The most fascinating thing about developing your brand is that you aren’t really in charge. Brand has, for decades, been defined as “a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer” which implies that in reality, your brand is entirely in their hands. Essentially, we boil it down to this: what experience does our core customer have when experiencing our organization?

There have been countless definitions of brand over the years (look here for 30 of them), but the majority of them agree that brand isn’t up to the business or ministry; it’s up to their customers. They will, without prodding, develop their own opinions of your organization (or even you, yourself!) and respond in a way that aligns with their personal preferences, communication styles, and impulses.

If your brand is out of your hands, why is it worth talking about?

In short, just because it’s out of your hands, doesn’t mean it’s out of your reach; the lifespan and success of your brand is heavily dependent on you and your ability to influence the perceptions in the minds of your consumer(s). Bryan Eisenberg has argued that your brand is a reflection of “all the experiences your customers have with your business”, and in that he is entirely correct…but the story deserves more depth; it is also a reflection of the experiences your customers hear about with regards to your business…and we all know how much easier to broadcast stories now than ever before. This emphasizes the importance of presenting not only a positive image, but a consistent one that is easily re-shared.

The benefits of branding…

If you put the work into clarifying your brand, what key benefits and takeaways can you expect? After all, most organizations don’t have budget to spend “just for the sake of it”; we need reasons and results! Here are 5 reasons to get started…

Investing in brand strategy allows you to hone in on the high-value uniquenesses of your organization and what you do; it strengthens your ability to hire, train, and reward your staff in an effective and relevant way; and it gives everyone your organization connects with something to resonate with. People should know with clarity how you’re different – and why it matters.  

Being able to effectively communicate and act on your brand gives stakeholders of all types the opportunity to feel that they truly “know” you and what to expect from you. When brands are constantly reinventing themselves, it can be jarring. Brands we come back to are those that we have trustworthy knowledge of.

This is the primary reason most of our clients come to us for branding. It’s a crowded marketplace, and it can be hard to stand out. Often we get asked to do PR – and we love great PR – but it’s received best when branding has produced meaningful awareness before we even show up to talk to a media outlet about our outstanding clients.

Once people know how to recognize your organization’s brand (remember – it’s not just your logo!) and what it stands for, reinforcing that in an engaging way can help you align with those who are the best fit for you. Those who value you and what you do.

This is what every organization and brand manager strive for: to secure dedicated brand advocates. Finding those who just love you for who you are, because they know who you really are. Brand advocates will act as cheerleaders, spreading the (positive) word about your brand simply because it resonates with them (even without a tangible reward). Seem far-fetched? Check out this list of some of the most successful examples of brand advocacy campaigns and how to design them.

There are countless benefits to putting some serious thought into your brand. If you want to know more about how you can develop an authentic brand plan that your staff, partners, suppliers, clients, and community love, talk to us. Brand is the responsibility of every member of your organization and, as such, should be an integral component of all you do. Train yourself to see your brand not as simply your logo, jingle, or hashtag…it is the sum total of all the perceptions someone has of you…make it easy to believe in.

June 1st, 2017|Comments Off on So, What’s The Big Deal About Branding?

Week In Review: What Women Leaders Should Read

Blessing Box by Graf-Martin CommunicationsYou work hard to keep your ministry running smoothly…let us help! This May, in partnership with Baker Publishing Group, we are giving away 10 Blessing Boxes filled with over $300 worth of women’s ministry resources. Each Blessing Box is curated to include Baker Publishing Groups new and best-of resources that will inspire leaders, facilitate conversation, and encourage opportunities for enriched congregational community. Give your church a chance to WIN, and nominate them HERE!

What We Think You NEED To Read!

To dive a little deeper into the types of resources we think will resonate with women in ministry and leadership, we want to introduce you to Ellen’s Picks: the community dedicated to connecting and challenging female leaders in Canada. Ellen Graf-Martin (president of Graf-Martin Communications Inc., speaker, leader) has connected with hundreds of women of faith from across Canada over time. These women of influence are early adopters, pioneers and trend-setters, and yet are often under-resourced. The Ellen’s Picks Community is made up of 50 extraordinary female ministry, media, business, and non-profit leaders, hand-selected and invited to be a member by Ellen. Every other month, Ellen selects a book that she genuinely loves and wants to share with this group. If you’re ever looking for an inspirational read, take a peek at what these ladies are enjoying. And don’t forget…you could win many of the titles they’ve enjoyed in the May Blessing Box!

 

Extraordinary Women of Christian History by Ruth A. Tucker

Extraordinary Women of Christian History by Ruth A. Tucker

Discover the incredible women who shaped our faith

Christianity has long been criticized as a patriarchal religion. But during its two-thousand-year history, the faith has been influenced and passed down by steadfast women. Martyrs and nuns, mystics and scholars, writers and reformers, preachers and missionaries, abolitionists and evangelists, these women are examples to us of faith, perseverance, forgiveness, and fortitude.

With gracious irreverence, Ruth A. Tucker offers engaging and candid profiles of some of the most fascinating women of Christian history. From the famous to the infamous to the obscure, women like Perpetua, Joan of Arc, Teresa of Ávila, Anne Hutchinson, Susanna Wesley, Ann Judson, Harriet Tubman, Fanny Crosby, Hannah Whitall Smith, Corrie ten Boom, and Mother Teresa, along with dozens of others, come to vivid life. These portraits of women who changed the world–some in small ways, some in significant ways–will spark lively discussion and inspire you to a life of faithful witness.

Endorsement for Extraordinary Women of Christian History

“When I found Ruth Tucker’s “Extraordinary Women of Christian History,” I discovered a veritable sampler platter of real-life Mothers. Tidbits and short biographical sketches of imperfect women, sometimes shocking in their imperfection, actually.

I loved what Tucker wrote about Anne-Marie Javouhey (founder of the Sisters of Saint Joseph): “she challenges us in her strong convictions more than in her so-called saintliness.” (page 163) I think this is true for most of the women profiled in the book. In looking at these faith-full women, I’m most convicted by their strong convictions, and surprised by their un-saintliness. None of them, it appears, knew the secret to a perfect life. Not even Hannah Whitall Smith. Their lives were marked by difficult marriages and doubt, but also by faith, strong will, and even “more than a touch of eccentricity” (p 162). There is nothing new under the sun, friend. – Ellen Graf-Martin

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. FreemanSimply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman

Is your soul being held hostage by hustle?

If you’ve grown weary of do more and dream bigger, small-moment living is just what you need. Real life happens in the small moments we find on the most ordinary day of the week. Tuesday holds secrets we can’t see in a hurry–secrets not just for our schedules but for our souls. In Simply Tuesday,Emily P. Freeman shows you how to…

· embrace today’s work
· find contentment in the now
· replace competition with connection
· learn to breathe in a breathless world

It’s time to release our obsession with building a life, and believe in the life Christ is building within us–one simple Tuesday at a time.

Endorsements for Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman

I’ve been reading Simply Tuesday by Emily Freeman. The idea of practicing “Small-Moment Living in a Fast Paced World” is put into bite sized sections that I’ve pondered this last month.  I was reminded again that if I focus only on the next “stage of life” I could be missing “stairwells” of life where seemingly insignificant moments create memories and lessons are learned. Learning to be content where I am at instead of competing for bigger and better and embracing what comes my way today instead of waiting for the big moments on the calendar leaves my soul more at peace. – Lovella

The truth is, I need to stop thinking about listening to sage advice about my busy life and patterns of “over-whelmed” and I need to start doing new patterns that change my busy and over-whelmed into joy-filled moments that actually do matter.

I was inspired by her candid take on every moment being important. The small interactions counting for more than just a fleeting second, but actually being the building blocks of a significant life.Krista

Why These Titles?

As a woman in leadership, you may have felt at some point that leadership content hasn’t been written in a way that resonated with your unique leadership circumstances and struggles. You may have even paused when you saw the titles in The Blessing Box and in Ellen’s Picks, because you’ve grown accustomed to reading books targeted towards a different demographic. But rest assured this gap hasn’t gone unnoticed. If you want to know more about how Ellen and our team are tackling this, read “On A Different Kind Of Leadership“, and be encouraged…leading like a lady is a good thing!Ellen's Picks

About Ellen’s Picks

Ellen’s Picks is the realization of a dream; a vision to connect a community of Christian women in leadership from across Canada with each other and life changing books. Women who will read & journey together through a book six times a year – a book that Ellen has hand-picked. It might be something that has challenged, encouraged, or even just entertained her! It will be something to equip and encourage women who lead, addressing not just our day to day work but all the things that refresh, equip and engage our leaders’ hearts. To learn more about Ellen’s Picks, click here.

What Else Is In The May Blessing Box?

This season’s Blessing Box is packed with books and small group Bible study materials from leading female Christian communicators including:

  • Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing book, DVD and LifeGrowth Guide
  • Lisa Bevere, Without Rival and Companion DVD
  • Susie Larson, Your Powerful Prayers and Companion DVD
  • Debbie Lindell, She Believes
  • Suzanne Eller, Come with Me
  • Renee Swope, A Confident Heart

With topics ranging from prayer and simplicity in a hectic age, to confidence and meaningful friendships, to Christian women in history, the May Blessing Box is sure to inspire and empower church and ministry leaders across the country as they read and lead. For more information on The Blessing Box and how to nominate a church for the current giveaway, visit www.blessingbox.ca.

May 26th, 2017|Comments Off on Week In Review: What Women Leaders Should Read