When for-profit company Charlotte’s Web centered their messaging around Charlotte, a girl whose seizures drastically reduced after taking their hemp product, they were using a popular non-profit messaging strategy: the power of an emotionally driven story. By 2020, Charlotte’s Web had a 35% market share of CBD in food, drug, and mass-retail channels.
It’s also fair to say that In the nonprofit world, adapting commonly used for-profit digital marketing strategies became the key to survival during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our newest white paper, “Messaging Strategies in the Nonprofit and For-Profit Worlds,” details what the two categories have to learn from one another. Almost every difference between nonprofit and for-profit organizations is based on their organizational culture, their goals, and the inputs they use to achieve them. Despite their many dichotomies, there is much to be learned from the messaging strategies of each.
We believe that messaging plays a vital role in six key areas.
- Consensus and Consistency. Successful consensus and consistency occur when everyone associated with the organization agrees on what makes it special (consensus) and is able to share that with the world in unison (consistency).
- Differentiation. You are identifying and asserting what makes an organization relevant and competitively distinct from all the other options people have.
- Lead Generation and Retention. You are continually identifying and engaging the long-term relationships your organization needs.
- Focus. You are avoiding tangents and staying fixated on the core mission and your approach to addressing it.
- Research. You are committed to conducting market research to know what constituents are thinking and feeling.
- Attracting and Retaining the Best Talent. The need to both attract and retain the best talent is imperative for both for- and not-for-profit organizations.
Nonprofits and for-profits have strengths and weaknesses in each of these categories.
One strength for-profits have in “Consensus and Consistency” is their ability to quantify their success across multiple levels thanks to key performance indicators (KPIs). High-level KPIs focus on overall business performance, while low-level KPIs can break that performance down by departments, quarterly milestones, and SKUs.
A weakness for-profit companies have is they often find it easier to agree on what they are selling and how, rather than why they are selling it. Conversely, this weakness is actually a strength for nonprofits, because often the why is why they exist in the first place.
Adapting Messaging Strategies with Messaging Framework
It’s not enough to know how to successfully use these messaging strategies; you must also understand where they fit in your messaging framework. A messaging framework has three elements to it, some or all of which are represented in each of the six categories:
- The why: Why is your mission important, why do you care, and why should anyone else care?
- The what and the how: What do you do to fulfill your mission, and how do you do it unlike anyone else?
- The way: What is the best way to bring your message to life, and what are the filters through which you are best seen and heard?
In “Messaging Strategies in the Nonprofit and For-Profit Worlds,” we show you the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of nonprofit and for-profit messaging strategies. We will also show you how we can adapt them to your messaging framework so that you can better reach your target audience.