Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

The branding secret that will make you more successful

The branding secret that will make you more successful

The keys to a good brand are like costume changes at an award show — there are many.

You know it has to look good and be adaptable, but what makes your brand really work is its connection to your ideal audience. This happens over time as each person sees and interacts with it. But how do you get to that connection in the first place?

It requires a bit of connecting the dots of:
your motivations + actions ——————————————— your ideal audience’s motivations + actions

branding diagram

So, what does this mean in real life?

Let’s take the Girl Scouts brand, which was voted top Youth Non-Profit Brand of the Year by The Harris Poll. (Disclaimer: I have no inside knowledge of the Girl Scouts brand. These notes where simply complied after looking at their online communications.)


Girl Scouts

Motivations: to instill courage, confidence, and character in young girls
Actions: local troops come together for fun activities where girls earn badges, learn and contribute to their communities

Their Audience

Girls’ motivations: they want to take risks, try new things, and make new friends
Girls’ actions: ages 6–17, adventurous, friendly, energetic


So what should this brand look like? I would say that overall the brand needs to be colorful, bold, and energetic.

Now check out a glimpse of their 2010 rebrandFYI — this is on a blog for and by designers so some of the content is very design-geekish.

Can you connect the dots with your own brand? How do they match up? Let me know in the comments

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3 Simple Steps to a Brand Personality that Converts

3 Simple Steps to a Brand Personality that Converts

Are you as obsessed with branding as I am? Probably not. Why am I obsessed? Because branding is the heart of who your organization is. It’s a big reason why people love working with you and supporting you. It helps you to instantly stand out from the pack before anything is even said.

It’s what makes your organization different from all the other lookalikes.

So how do you find out your brand personality?
In smaller organizations, the brand personality can often be the Founder’s or Executive Director’s personality — which has its pluses and minuses. To find out your brand personality:

  1. Ask yourself this:
    “If this organization was a person, how would I describe them?”
    If you’re working with a team on your brand personality, I suggest first answering this question alone, then come together and share your answers. You might be surprised by the similarities and differences.
  2. Edit your answers
    Narrow down your list to approximately 4 adjectives/descriptors of your brand. Choose the most important words. Don’t just list them all, prioritize them to get to the essence of what the brand is. The words you use will help dictate what your brand will look and feel like.
  3. Check out the competition
    Don’t forget to check out your competition, or other similar organizations in your area or that have a similar mission. What’s their brand personality?

Insider Secret: Brand personalities can change over a long period (10+ years), or after a major change in the organization like a merger or mission. If this describes your organization, is it time for a rebrand?


Do you need a brand that helps you expand your audience and end brand confusion? 
Download the FREE Nonprofit Brand Boost pdf today to learn my system to a brand that helps you succeed. LEARN MORE

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How to know if your brand is any good


Does your outside match your inside? Or better yet do your actions and your motivations match? What about your audience? Do you know their outsides and insides, actions and motivations? You know your brand works when all of these are aligned and visualized through the right combination of fonts, color, and imagery.

Does your brand work according to this test?

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How to DIY your brand to meet your short-term goals


So you have a new business or nonprofit and you need a consistent look for all your marketing and communications. No $$ to hire an expert? Confident you can DIY?

Think of your brand as the mothership
Your brand is not just a logo, but the overarching look and feel that touches everything you do and say about your organization. When developing a brand you should start with the who, what, and why of your business and audience. Then you can work on making sure your logo, colors, etc. are a visual representation of that.

Your DIY branding resources
Inexpensive resources to help you figure out your brand and create print and online graphics:

  • Branding Toolkit for Changemakers  – an ebook that guides you through the branding process
  • moo – print business cards and other kinds of materials from templates, or upload your own
  • hands on every day  – print business cards and other kinds of materials from templates, or hire them to create custom designs
  • canva – create social media graphics or other print materials

DIYing might be the best short-term solution, but as you grow, pivot your business, or go after a more targeted audience, a larger investment will have to be made. If that happens, no worries. There are plenty of professionals, myself included, that would love to help.

Have you DIYed a brand before? Where you happy with the results?

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You only have 15 seconds to convince your audience

Branding | Marketing | Web Design

You’re passionate and knowledgeable about the work you do, but sometimes that gets in the way of convincing others how important it is. More than half of the visitors to your website will spend about 15 seconds on your homepage or any other page for that matter. Holy crap! I think many sites will fail this test.

What’s the key to breaking this? Show more, tell less. Show what your mission/product is. Show your impact. Show the reader what action they need to take. The rest is icing.

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