For charities that operate widely, one of the biggest challenges is maintaining a consistent brand identity and producing marketing material quickly, all without breaking the bank.
Sure, it’s possible to outsource all marketing and design to an agency, but this can be prohibitively expensive and you could end up sacrificing agility and time. To ensure success, individual volunteers or regional teams holding their own fundraisers need instant access to marketing materials that are on brand and get the message right.
Establishing a brand management toolkit could be the answer. These online platforms hold bespoke templates for specific items, like flyers, posters and emails, that have the key elements of the charity’s brand in place. Designed to provide a simple user experience, the templates allow local volunteers, fundraisers and staff to drop in images and text to quickly create their own promotional materials.
This helps charities to create a unified, strong brand identity across differing outlets, giving them better value for their marketing efforts and streamlining the branding process.
We spoke to Kate O’Neill, Digital Marketing Manager for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, and Julie Morrow, Head of Marketing and Events at Young Enterprise, about their work with Brand Meadow’s brand management toolkit. They gave us three reasons why a brand management toolkit transformed their marketing department, and explained why using a toolkit to reinvigorate your brand identity could be the shot in the arm your charity needs.
You can reduce marketing costs
The two main costs of producing marketing material are graphic design costs and project management cost. When Rainbow Trust decided to rebrand for the first time in 28 years, the team knew that they had to get as much mileage out of their marketing budget as possible while still presenting a strong brand identity.
“We were able to work with them [Brand Meadow] to create a toolkit that exactly met our needs,” says Kate.
“We wanted a simple and effective solution that was as flexible as possible, whilst ensuring that everything that was created retained our brand. And the Brand Meadow toolkit makes it really easy for anyone to create high-quality posters and flyers in minutes without needing any design software and skills.”
“It saved us hugely in terms of design time… We found that the toolkit actually paid for itself within a few months in terms of saved design hours.”
You can work seamlessly across a widespread network of staff and volunteers
Young Enterprise, an organisation that helps young people develop their personal and business skills, is a charity with broad range. It boasts a network of more than 6,000 volunteers working in schools and universities in every corner of the UK, but understandably struggled to deliver on-brand marketing materials to them from its central marketing team in London.
“We identified a need for a tool that would help our regional teams as well as our volunteers and empower them to use our brand properly and effectively, in terms of creating marketing materials on a local and regional level,” Julie explains.
It was a key way they could extend their reach and improve their impact, she adds.
“It’s important for us that all the schools we work with, when they see a national campaign, or a flyer about a local event, they have the same brand experience of Young Enterprise.”
Kate echoes the need to maintain a unified brand identity across different events, fundraisers and outreach opportunities.
“I think that applies to any organisation, but particularly in the third sector where you’ve got lots of people working with and using your brand: from high-profile corporate supporters, to a single fundraiser holding an event. There’s no point crying if you’ve seen something that’s been designed completely off-brand if you haven’t given them the tools to make it possible.”
You can get more value from a strong brand identity
What do charities with strong brand identities have in common? “They’re clear about the cause and impact of what they’re doing – why you need to support them is really clear,” says Julie. “If you can’t articulate that with a really simple sentence, then people just aren’t going to get it.”
With a brand management toolkit, the charity’s visual identity and message is baked directly into every item it distributes. While it helps everyone on the team exercise good branding practice, it’s worth remembering the fundamentals, including knowing your audience, and evolving with your brand.
“The brand is a living thing rather than a rubber-stamping job on all of our materials,” says Julie. “I think you need to be responsive with your brand, and you need to think of ways you can improve your impact. I would encourage people to think about how they can invest and embed and improve upon their brand.”
Kate agrees: “For us, a strong charity brand would be something that is consistent, the visual identity is aligned to the cause, and is memorable, compelling and relevant to the audience that you’re speaking to.”
“It pays dividends in consistently raising profile, improving reputation, and creates public trust and belief in an organisation, and long-term it will help across the board to achieve income, media and campaigning goals.
“Our Online Toolkit allows users to create and edit their own materials with ease, whenever they need them, in minutes. This supports us to deliver a strong brand across the country.”
Contact Brand Meadow to find out how a brand management toolkit could make a difference for your charity.
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