Is your brand strong and clear?
What is “branding?” Google it and you’ll get more than 50 million results.
You could explore each of those links — but here’s a simpler approach.
Branding starts well before you pick your logo color, tagline or font. An organization with a strong brand understands and demonstrates its identity — who it is and what it stands for — before focusing on how to communicate that brand to others.
This SmartScan module will help you assess whether your organization has a solid brand and how well you are living that brand through what you do and say.
Are you planning for effective communication?
The “oops” moment
You wrote a great one-pager to encourage people to start recycling at home, but found out the local waste disposal company doesn’t offer recycling bins for people to use. Oops!
Your organization is part of a coalition working on policy change. After a year of trying to get major media coverage, you secure a story in the New York Times. Everybody’s happy. However, you didn’t focus on local publicity, including the home district of the Congressional committee chair with oversight of your issue. She’s not inclined to make it a priority because she says she hasn’t heard about it from her constituents. D’oh!
Three months into your organization’s fiscal year, you realize you’ve already spent 50 percent of your communication budget. When your team meets to talk through progress so far, you realize that everyone has a different idea of what success looks like. Aargh!
Getting from “oops” to “a-ha!”
One step forward and two steps back is not an effective path to communications success. Too often, we focus on tactics — press outreach, events, creating a Facebook page — rather than taking the time to make sure we have the strongest possible communication strategy in place.
Remember the three little pigs? They all had the same objective in mind — keeping out the big, bad wolf. But only the wise little pig who took the time to do it right and figure out the difference between bricks and sticks (and straw) made the right choice and built a foundation solid enough to meet every contingency — like a wolf who’s been spending a lot of time in the gym.
Communication planning is your brick house. Strategic communication planning can help target your limited resources and make the most out of every dollar. Answer the questions in this module of the SmartScan to see how you’re doing when it comes to communication planning.
Are you arming everyone on staff with the communication skills to succeed?
If good communication were easy, everyone would do it right.
So why is it so challenging? What makes a “great communicator,” and what ends up just being a lot of noise?
Organizations that communicate successfully constantly learn new ways to communicate well. Are you following the latest trends and watching for emerging tools that help you reach your audiences? Do you stay up to date on message guidance, public opinion research, and breakthroughs on marketing and persuasion so that you can apply the smartest ideas and thinking to your communication efforts?
This module is designed to help you assess whether your staff are current on communication best practices and tools and can use these to enhance and advance the organization’s mission and objectives.
Every communications challenge is different, but most organizations require a set of core practices and skills. The SmartScan focuses on a few — media relations, storytelling, digital strategy and your organization’s quick pitch — that are fundamental to almost every organization’s success. You may want to add skills important to you and assess skill levels organization-wide.
Are your communication efforts built to last and get results?
You may ask yourself, how did I get here?
Let’s skip to the good part. You created a video. It went viral. Your online activism made someone really important do something big or it garnered your organization a ton of new donors. Now you’re asking, how can I do this again? (Or maybe your board asks, “Why haven’t you done this before?”)
Measuring success is critical — not just for foundation grant reports, annual reports and Board meetings, but also so you can see the building blocks of your success and re-chart your course when you might go off the right path.
This module focuses on assessing whether your current infrastructure is strong enough to get the communication job done and if your systems are able to track results.