Branding is much like an interpersonal relationship. Individuals want to associate with others who have shared values, shared interests, and shared experiences.
Your cause has values that are true about and that are projected in its character, in the brand positioning statement, in its programs, and in its activities in the community. It’s what creates your cause’s persona.
Your audience has values, a way of thinking, beliefs, and behaviors that make up their personality.
Where your cause and your stakeholder’s values overlap is in the stakeholder experience, and this is where brands are created. Your cause has to be likable – much like individuals have to be likable – in order to find common ground where a relationship can be formed and trust can be built. People want to know that you care about them, whether they are donors, volunteers or any other stakeholder.
Your brand is not what you think about it, it’s what your audience thinks about it. To find your brand alignment, look in the minds and hearts where your cause and stakeholders share experience and values. It will be what makes your cause different.