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Digital Engagement Series: Build your brand

You have learned how to create and implement organizational objectives and develop a target audience. The next step is to unfold your brand.

Step three of the public engagement series will give you a better understanding of what branding means to government organizations and how to set a foundation for all marketing endeavors through branding.

What is a Brand?

A brand is the single most important asset to an organization. It encompasses the name, term, design, symbol, content, and features that make an organization unique. Organizations who have a strong brand are easy to recognize, their identity is clear, and their audiences are loyal.

Your brand is the result of an ongoing interplay between your organization and the public. It boils down to how the public perceives you.

Government Organizations and Brand

Contrary to popular belief, branding is a legitimate government activity.

While branding benefits the bottom line in publicly traded companies, it equates to trust with government agencies. That trust is built from a collection of shared experiences with your brand. Danielle Blumenthal, the Director of Digital Engagement for the Office of Innovation at The National Archives said it perfectly:

“You have to put money in the ‘trust bank’ first, establishing a positive and distinct reputation for trustworthiness and a particular set of values.”

Each digital touch point with your audience offers a chance to solidify trust. You can build that trust by:

  • Offering full transparency through blog posts, press releases, social media posts, and website content
  • Creating a style guide to maintain consistency across all communications
  • Creating email templates to balance quality and scale
  • Systemizing sign-up process/forms to create a unified experience
  • Adopting a branded email footer and enforcing strict brand guidelines throughout your organization

If you create a transparent, professional, and unified experience with your brand, then your audience will be more willing to trust you.

Setting a Foundation

Your brand must be carefully crafted to ensure it properly represents your organization and resonates with your target audience. Poor branding results in low engagement and action.

To set a foundation for your organization, create a brand identity document. Attributes, values, purpose, strengths, and passions that make up your overall brand identity. Here is how to get started with plotting your brand identity:

  1. Create a vision statement: This should answer, “Where do you want to see your organization in five years?”
  2. Craft a mission statement: …”What are your guiding principles that define your organization’s approach?”
  3. Distinguish your brand essence: …”What emotions does your organization elicit to its audience?”
  4. Define what your brand personality is: …”What characteristics are associated with your organization?”
  5. Establish your value proposition: …”What’s your organization’s promise to your audience members?”

More Brand Resources

There are a few additional resources to help build, develop, or perfect your brand:

  • Brand Assessment Tool: This tool allows you to plot your organization based on brand strategy, alignment, communication, and execution.
  • Brand Perception Survey: Repurpose this templated survey to get to the core of how your audience actually perceives you.
  • Brand Strategy Scorecard: You can evaluate your brand’s current status with this scorecard. The scorecard allows you to plug in your performance measures like objectives and KPIs.
  • Brand Bible Guide: Consistency is important in branding; to create visual consistency across all “owned” assets, implement the suggestions in this guide.

… And, here are a few style guidelines of popular brands: Skype (pdf, brand page), BBC, Adobe, Apple, Google, and Wal-Mart.

Got all of that? Next, take time to learn about the forth step in public engagement through digital marketing: sending messages that get read. Stay tuned to our blog next week!