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Last month, I got to speak at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s annual conference, always a great experience. When it came time for questions, this one came up (as it usually does): “How can we get our leadership to see we need to make a change to our brand and message?”

Here is yet another example of what nonprofits and for-profit organizations have in common—convincing leadership that it’s time to pay attention to their message!

We use the word “leadership” to describe the role of a CEO or Executive Director for a reason. CEOs are meant to lead, and it is they who are ultimately able to affect true change within an organization. If your big bosses, ringleaders, head honchos, or whatever you call them don’t get brand and messaging, here are some tips to sway them:

  • Identify the organizations your leadership admires and demonstrate how their brand strategies give them so much clout.
  • Provide competitive analyses that compare your brand and message to comparable organizations.
  • If you’re at a public company, show the connection between strong brands and shareholder value. Forbes reports that according to research by the Marketing Accountability Standards Board, brand contributes 19% and 10% to enterprise value amongst B2C and B2B companies, respectively.
  • If you’re at a nonprofit, demonstrate the clear connection between message clarity and fundraising.
  • Encourage them to speak with their peers at organizations with strong brands and compelling messages.
  • Bring in a third party to provide some executive education.

Without your leadership’s full commitment, shifting your organization’s brand and message will be an uphill battle.

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