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6 Ways to Build a Strong Brand Through Your Team

A strong brand has the incredible power to change minds, build movements, and transform lives. When we think about our nonprofit brands, we usually consider their relationship to our external audiences. But brands are really built from the inside-out. If you create team-brand alignment, your team can authentically embody and project your organization’s brand to the world.

If you were building a house, you’d start with the foundation. And when you’re building a strong brand, you can start by aligning your team’s everyday experiences with what’s expressed to your external audiences.

After all, our teammates are our greatest assets and brand ambassadors. They sit at the heart of our organizations and our impact. When we turn our gaze inward, we can give our teammates confidence that the brand they present to the world is true to the one they experience. In this Constructively Curated, we’re exploring six ways to create a stronger brand by aligning your team’s experience with your external brand.

6 Ways to Build a Strong Brand Through Your Team

1. Build Your Brand Strategy Democratically

Building your brand strategy helps you answer the big three in our books: who you are, what you do, and why it matters. Our organizations are stronger when our teammates feel aligned around the answer to those three questions. To build that alignment, we can build our brand strategy democratically, incorporating voices and lived experiences from every corner of our organizations. We’ve gathered resources for inclusive brainstorms and workshops to boost engagement. You can also try out some of our favorite brand strategy exercises. And once you weave together ideas through an inclusive, democratic process, you empower your team to feel alignment and ownership toward your external brand.

2. Create a Focused Mission Statement

A clear, concise mission statement that reflects your nonprofit’s core purpose and values is essential to creating team-brand alignment. Nonprofits can create that focused mission through inclusive strategic planning and through those brand strategy exercises. If your team understands and feels ownership over your nonprofit’s mission, they’ll be able to honestly reflect that mission to your external audiences.

3. Give Your Team Hands-On Opportunities

It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday responsibilities of our roles—to lose sight of the tangible, powerful impact of nonprofit work. Providing your team with hands-on opportunities to work in your issue area bridges the gap between a typical work day and your atypical impact. Hands-on opportunities can take a different form for every nonprofit. Political nonprofits could provide teammates with canvassing opportunities, or environmental nonprofits could sponsor park or beach clean ups. And if those don’t apply, you can check out other team volunteer ideas here. The opportunities are variable, but the result is uniform: When you empower your team to live out your nonprofit’s mission, you build cohesion between their experience and the brand they project.

4. Stick to DEI Commitments

Brands that democratically iterate and improve upon their commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion create a virtuous authentic brand cycle. When policies that promote inclusivity and psychological safety are integral to your organization, you empower your team to bring their true selves to work. Authentic brands are built when team members from across your organization feel safe to honestly present themselves and to authentically embody your organization’s values. If you’re looking to build on your DEI commitments, you can check out some of The Communications Network’s DEI resources for nonprofits.

5. Practice Transparency and Accountability

Strong nonprofit brands cultivate internal and external trust in their integrity. Making sure members of your nonprofit team feel that leadership is honest, transparent, and exercising integrity is a key piece of building team-brand alignment. More and more employees want to feel that their employers are committed to doing good in the world. It’s part of why nonprofit hiring is booming. To preserve your team’s enthusiasm and goodwill, nonprofits can engage from the inside, create communication channels to keep employees informed, and encourage open dialogue by providing opportunities to ask questions, give feedback, and contribute to decision-making processes.

6. Foster Belonging and Community

Creating a sense of community and belonging is an essential element of bridging alignment between your team and your nonprofit brand. And that sense of community doesn’t have to stay siloed across departments or teams, either! Your team can bond over everything from funny pet photos to shouting out fellow employees. At Constructive, we have a #Cute-Animals Slack channel, and we use Bonusly to give recognition to our teammates—but there are plenty of other employee recognition platforms out there. Fostering community engagement helps make sure that your teammates know they belong—and in time, that sense of belonging strengthens the connection between their perception of your nonprofit brand and the lived experience of your team.

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. A nonprofit brand represents the organization and its people, and building team-brand alignment between your team’s experience and your brand is an ongoing process. These resources are just six of many steps you can take to strengthen your brand by empowering your greatest brand ambassadors—your team—to authentically embody your brand.

– Your Friends at Constructive

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About the Author

MK Moore

MK Moore

MK is our Lead Content Marketer dedicated to elevating Constructive’s brand as well as the brands of our partners with thoughtful, strategic content. She’s practiced her storytelling in everything from political canvassing to traditional copy-editing. MK crafts content designed to engage and inform an audience in the interest of inspiring positive change. She holds a B.A. in English and Media Studies from Boston University. As a student, MK played varsity basketball, wrote for her student newspaper, and volunteered for various political campaigns. Prior to joining Constructive, MK spent two years as a Content Creator for an environmental nonprofit and worked as the Marketing Manager for a health technology startup. Outside of work, you can find MK baking, reading, or going for runs along the Charles River.

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