My family and I recently visited Emerald Isle, NC, which was hit hard by Hurricane Florence this past September. Walking the beach, I saw firsthand the destruction the massive storm caused. I also noticed something interesting – the homes with metal roofs weathered the storm much better than those with traditional shingle roofs. This got me thinking about how this might apply to branding and marketing for nonprofits.
Stay with me here…
You may think it’s a stretch to compare roofing to branding and marketing, but let me make my case! Just as the roof is the covering for a home, a nonprofit’s brand and marketing is the covering for the organization. Your choices and investments in this covering impact how your nonprofit performs in fair and foul weather. With me? Great! Here are a few thoughts on investing in and maintaining your organization’s brand so it’s built to last.
You get what you pay for
A metal roof can cost twice as much in the first year, but ultimately it costs roughly a third of what asphalt shingle roofs cost over the course of 60 years, according to the Metal Roofing Alliance. The same can be said for branding and marketing. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a new client tell me how much they regret trying to cut costs by having a volunteer or low-cost, less-experienced freelancer build their brand or marketing materials. In the end they got a product that was inferior, and they still ended up making the investment with Angel Oak or another firm to build a brand, marketing plan, website, etc. that would stand the test of time.
Do your homework
When most people think roofing, they think shingles. Unless a homeowner does the research into options like metal roofing, they don’t even know it’s a viable choice. This is true when it comes to nonprofits making choices about marketing. While hiring a firm like Angel Oak is likely more expensive than hiring a freelancer or allowing a volunteer to do the work, if you just assume you can’t afford it, you’re likely making an uninformed decision. We love meeting with new nonprofits, showing them the quality of work we produce and the value it brings to an organization. Many executive directors and development directors come to realize that hiring a marketing firm is not only a viable option, but the best one for their nonprofit long-term.
Strong branding and marketing lasts
Just as the metal roofs at Emerald Isle withstood hurricane-force winds, strong brands and marketing can help organizations stand strong in the face of adversity. While all nonprofits hope they never experience controversy, the likelihood is that over the course of the lifetime of an organization, there will be challenges. This could be a rogue employee, unexpected injury or the death of leadership or recipients, illegal activities or just a bad day. When these incidents happen, having a strong covering (brand/marketing) will help your organization withstand the foul weather with the best opportunity to overcome and move forward in a positive direction. And in good times, just like a metal roof, you’ll have a brand that shines!
Want your organization to shine in the good times and stand strong during the stormy months? Investing well in your brand and marketing is like investing in a metal roof for your beach house (that we all wish we had!). Not only will it make your organization look good, it will be there when you need it most to see you through adversity and conflict. And as always, we’re here to help.
– David Chatham, Senior Marketing Consultant