From eliminating sugar to going gluten-free, cleanses are all the trend these days. I think most would say, it’s to eliminate certain foods from the diet to feel “lighter” and to promote health. It’s tempting not to try one, if this is the result.
Mother Nature gets behind the trend as well thanks to her good little wind storm. Last week one blew in that rattled the windows and whistled in the trees. I actually like the sound of the wind, and thankfully it didn’t last long or do any damage in our neighborhood. But when I took a walk to the woods with the dogs the next day, I saw a number of small downed branches littering the path. Perhaps small limbs that weren’t essential or secure – not strong enough to withstand the wind. In sum, a little Mother Nature cleanse.
As you know, I love analogies. And this recent storm made me think of nonprofits and whether occasions arise when they need a cleanse – often revealed when there are periods of intensity, like a windstorm. This cleanse can be thought of in terms of the workforce, or in terms of marketing and branding.
Whether we call it change or a cleanse, there are times when we need to simplify and clean things up in our organizations. Today, I’m going to focus primarily on the need for a “marketing cleanse”. Although it may be a valuable exercise to humbly look at staff to determine if all of them can stand up to a strong wind that challenges the status quo. Every nonprofit needs a foundation of team resiliency, to flex and bend with the gusts that may pommel the organization.
But back to cleaning up marketing. Too many nonprofits we work do not take the time to prune all the verbiage, messaging and clutter on their website and in their collateral materials. It’s confusing to the reader. Perhaps we need a good healthy wind to winnow down all the extra stuff found in communications. I suggest a great place to start is by removing unnecessary words to reach a clean simple brand that stands strong. Here's a three-step process to clean up your brand.
1. Write down all the words in collateral pieces or the webpagethat you use to describe your agency
2. Look at this list and determine which ones describe WHAT you do, and which ones really get at WHO you are. These WHO words are the keepers – your core narrative.
3. Now go back and look at your communications again, and remove much of the descriptive “what” and “how” you do things and then look for the emotional hook that nails your identity. Voila! You have cleansed your brand and taken the first step in creating a killer tagline. And it will withstand any storm, wind or otherwise!