27 Nov Uncovering Your Unique Brand
Your organization is unique, and at 3rdThird, we treat it that way.
A brand is so much more than a logo, a set of colors, and glossy photography. Your brand is made up of everything that can be perceived about your organization. That includes operational personality, physical characteristics and intangibles — such as “the feeling” your community conveys to anyone walking in the door.
A strong brand builds trust in a competitive environment, and shows off what’s exceptional about your organization.
Everything about what your community does is special: your culture, residents, location, and offerings are unlike anyone else’s. But how do you translate that into messaging and visuals that make your brand shine?
No matter how sophisticated your organization, identifying who and what you stand for can be difficult to accomplish internally. That’s because it takes an objective view and professional guidance to encompass your community’s identity and goals.
At 3rd Third, we dig deep into organizations to identify their DNA. When we work with clients on a rebrand, we study many different facets of their organization’s personality.
If you’re thinking about embarking on a rebrand process or not sure if you need one, consider the following questions to determine your organization’s differentiating factors, and figure out if your current brand shows off those highlights:
What are the “givens” in your organization that any prospect would expect to get at any community?
What are the baseline things any potential resident looks for? The baseline attributes of a community aren’t typically differentiating factors, they’re things every community should have. It can be useful to identify these and work backwards to realize what’s unique in your community.
The baseline attributes are usually things like the care, it’s a given that your community should provide excellent care, if not, that’s a bigger issue that needs to be addressed. Typically, we do not recommend differentiation based on “providing excellent care”, because it’s something that should be present at minimum for a prospect to seriously consider a community.
Other features like safety or security aren’t usually the best differentiating factors either. They’re important things to mention and talk about, but they aren’t the headlining stars when differentiating your organization in a market. It’s great that residents feel safe and at home in your community, but every community has residents who feel safe and secure there.
Once you have an idea of what a potential resident expects as a non-negotiable, you can go deeper and see what your community has, above and beyond the minimums.
Why do residents choose your community?
What does it feel like and look like, have and do that is different?
You probably already have a good sense of this from being in the community and knowing the residents, but it’s a good idea to involve the residents and your team and gather their ideas and start identifying trends.
What current perceptions are there about your community in the market?
These answers can be harder to gather but anyone that interacts with your community has a perception or may have heard what the community is known for.
Is your community the oldest, newest, etc.? Are you known as the place where all the retired schoolteachers move? Maybe there’s a yearly event at your community that everyone seems to know about.
The goal is to know what kinds of perceptions exist about your community, both positive and negative. Sometimes it can help reveal what makes your organization different, it can also help know what people are thinking and if there’s any damage control that needs to be done.
Recognize all of your target audiences: current residents and employees, future residents, philanthropic partners and even future employees.
What is the picture of your ideal future resident and community culture? Your brand is how you tell the world your story. What kinds of people are you attracting with your current brand? Is there a discrepancy between your organization’s present culture and the ideal imagined one?
These questions are simply starting points for brainstorming about differentiating your organization in the market. (We can’t give away all of our secrets!) Differentiation can be a key part of a larger rebrand or marketing strategy project. If you have questions about how your community can stand out, we should talk more.