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A Program by Any Other Name…

June 26, 2018
Shannon Manning, Senior Vice President, Strategic Communications & Engagement

When it comes to advancing your advocacy or PAC goals, before you start thinking about names, logos, and colors, you should be thinking about values, perceptions, motivations, and competitive differentiators, just like you would for any product, service, or corporate identity.

The point of a brand is to differentiate your organization or program from others of its kind in the market. The advocacy space has become very crowded—not just with competing programs, but with competing ideologies and messages, competition that includes very nuanced differences between why your energy (or health care or transportation or…) campaign is better or more effective than someone else’s.

What your brand triggers in the minds (and hearts) of your target audiences matters—getting your program brand to stick with them is crucial to motivating their participation and keeping them engaged.

Even if you’re fundraising for your corporate PAC, you’ve got to compete with candidate PACs, non-profit PACs, Super PACS, as well as with your eligibles’ perceptions of politics in general and specific candidates in particular.

Here are just a few questions you should be asking, whether you are creating a new brand for your campaign/program or assessing how well your current brand is working:

  • What are we for? Freedom, fairness, strong communities, healthy environments, more choices…?
  • What are we against?
  • What is our perspective—are we optimistic, or is the world ending (or somewhere in between)?
  • Who are we trying to win over?
  • What are we going to be asking of them?
  • What is going to make our campaign/program worthy of time they would normally spend watching TV or scanning Facebook (let alone time they would spend with their kids)?
  • Is our corporate/association brand helpful in this case?
  • Who is our opposition and what do their playbooks look like?

All of that and more needs to feed into the name you choose, the colors you select, and the messaging that communicates what your brand stands for. AYTM (Ask Your Target Market) offers a great primer on “What is a Brand?” that can help organize your thinking. And, of course, DDC’s communication and advocacy brand experts are always here to help.

Shakespeare may have been right when he said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But that doesn’t hold true for advocacy and PAC programs. The name (and logo and color scheme and messaging platform) can and do make a big difference. Getting the subtext right is worth the time and effort.

(Ever wonder where brands came from to begin with? Check out this Forbes article to learn more.)










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