Everywhere you hear, people are talking about "branding." Advertising agencies have become "branding specialists." Low-end celebs work very hard to create their own "brand," which is just another word for reputation. Even nonprofits, like public radio stations, are paying attention to the presentation of their "brand."
John Burke, in his Nonprofit Branding blog, says, "Implementing a mission that benefits society is probably not enough. Your nonprofit must commit all employees, all volunteers, all directors and all actions to the branding process. Your brand is shaped incrementally and always – shaped by every interaction, shaped by the way your phone is answered, the way your office is maintained, and by the grammar in your emails."
So what about a logo? Why all the fuss about logos? Why is a recognizable logo important to a retail product? A well known logo is intended to re-create the feeling of the brand in the mind of the consumer. When you see that pink and orange logo, you're supposed to smell coffee and taste sugary-sweet fried dough. Wearing the Nike swoosh means you are a real athlete. The design of the logo is neither here nor there, as long as the effect on the audience's brain is there.
Believe it or not, a lot of research has been done looking into how public opinion, the essence of a "brand" is created. Much to the chagrin of advertising agencies everywhere, public opinion does not issue forth from clever taglines, or memorable visual. Public opinion comes from individuals' experiences with companies. And, of course, we've all heard the story that you'll tell one person about a good experience, but you'll tell ten people when you have a bad experience.
That's why Burke insists that every single person involved with a nonprofit should be regarded as a spokesperson. Because they are! People's experiences day-to-day form their impressions of a company's brand.
And here's where I get to brag a little bit. The announcers, staff and volunteers at San Diego's Jazz 88.3 are all excellent spokespeople. We all share a passion for the music and the good work that the station does. That pride simply cannot be programmed or bought. It comes from within. Being part of this station is something unique and wonderful. Whether you like bebop or not!