Nonprofits and the arts have a need to market products, services and messages just like any other business. They need followers, champions, spokespersons, supporters and customers for them to remain relevant, successful and sustainable. Yet, nonprofits and the arts have something very unique in common when it comes to their communications strategy development. Something that sets them apart from any other type of business. They organically speak to man’s need and unique ability to imagine and create. A nonprofit imagines a world that is better and works to create that world through education, service, empowerment, advocacy and faith. Artists look at the world or imagine new worlds and create music, art, poetry, theatre, dance and other forms of expression to communicate these new worlds or new perspectives on the world with their audiences.
The result is something very intimate and profound. This intimacy and profundity is the basis for communications strategies as it pertains to nonprofits and the arts.
Identify the intimate and profound values of your creations, your dreams–what your imagination and vision tells you the world is or should be or could be or just “Wow, that’s so strange, I just can’t stop looking!”
This is your value-centered branding. This will be the foundation for your communications strategies that will speak directly to the values of your audience.
Examples of values-centered branding: hope, passion, health, liberty, commitment, pain, joy, success, community, anarchy, freedom, humor, control and never forget “cool.”
Note that not all values have to be positive. Some might seem rather benign, and you can still find an eager audience focusing on the darker side of nature. The point is, this isn’t about judgement; it’s about finding an authentic voice for your values-centered branding.
Nonprofits and artists represent the human spirit directly.
The next step is finding your audience–your particular public who will find that your values mirror theirs and theirs yours. This is the foundation for deep loyalty. Not one to be taken for granted, but one that has the potential to become very intimate and steadfast. If courted and nurtured properly, your following, based on shared values, can become unbridled public champions on your behalf.