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April 28, 2010 4:59 PM Age: 9 yrs

Welcome to the 18th edition of Branding Bytes.

Category: Larry Checco
Source:  Larry Checco, Checco Communications

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Branding Bytes is a FREE quarterly e-newsletter courtesy of Larry Checco of Checco CommunicationsIn this issue:

  • When it Comes to Your Brand, Details Matter
  • Bits & Bytes
  • Speaking schedule  
  • What clients say

When it Comes to Your Brand, Details Matter

I was just about to make a positive remark about the attractive design on the cover of the document, when a colleague of the person whose department was responsible for putting the piece together blurted out, “Hey, Jim, the county’s name is spelled wrong on the cover of your report.” 

You could have heard a pin drop as Jim (not his real name) flinched with embarrassment.

This scene unfolded during one of my branding workshops to a group of 20 county government leaders.  It was at the point in my presentation when I gathered everyone around a large conference table to peer-review each other’s printed materials.  The purpose: To determine how well the materials reflected their respective department’s brands.  

Was the error that was pointed out on the document a mere typo?  Hardly.  The document in question happened to be a financial report that was scheduled to be released to the public. 

I saw a teachable moment.

Reassuring Jim that I was not trying to embarrass anyone, but rather attempting to make a point, I asked the group “If the county’s name is misspelled on the cover of this document how can we be guaranteed that the page after page of dollar figures inside are correct?”

In effect, the typo represented a breach in the trust Jim’s department was trying so hard to restore under new leadership. 

The episode reaffirmed what I had been telling the group from the outset; that there is nothing an organization can say or do that isn’t a reflection on its brand, everything from how courteously its phones are answered, to whether or not staff is dressed appropriately and, yes, even typos—especially if you’re responsible for financial figures.

What the public perceives

The fact is the public picks up on all kinds of cues that provide them with insights—be they right or wrong—about who you are, what you do, how you do it and why they should care, which I believe are the key questions any good brand must address.   

Here’s an example that demonstrates the other side of this coin.

Many of the local affiliates of a former national client of mine operate thrift shops, which represent a significant portion of their annual local revenue streams. I had the good fortune to be asked to tour several of these facilities located in different parts of the country and to give my impression of what I saw.

In short, I was truly astounded on how neat, orderly and well organized all of the thrifts were kept.

Things weren’t piled on the floor, and shoppers were not forced to rummage through boxes to find what they were looking for, as one might expect in a thrift shop. 

Rather, floor space was divided into attractive departments, some using iconic art work to let customers know which department they were in; the clothes were all neatly folded or on hung on racks, some attractively placed on mannequins; the furniture had all been restored and laid out as it might be in a high-end department store; the jewelry was all sorted and neatly displayed. 

The message these shops implicitly conveyed to me was “If this organization is such a good steward of donated used clothing and furniture it just must be paying the same kind of attention to detail with respect to the funds these thrifts bring in and the services it provides to its clients.  This may be an organization I’d like to support.”       

Rightly or wrongly, perception is reality.  And the perception this organization was tacitly but convincingly conveying was “Trust us.  We know what we’re doing.”  A powerful—and desirable brand message any organization would be happy to own.

The lesson:  Pay attention to details.  They matter when it comes to how people perceive your brand—namely who you are, what you do, how you do it, and why they should care!

My thanks to GuideStar for reprinting the above piece in the April 2010 edition of its monthly e-newsletter which goes out to more than 300,000 nonprofits nationwide.

Bits & Bytes:

  • Do you work for a government agency and want to learn how to improve its image to both internal and external audiences? I will be conducting a full-day workshop, entitled "Rebranding the Federal Government--One Agency at a Time," at EEI in Alexandria, VA, on Monday, May 24. For more information, click here: www.eeicom.com/training/dispclas.cfm?classID=15233
  • My thanks to my friend Jocelyn Harmon for posting some of my thoughts on branding on her blog.  To access this wonderful resource, log onto www.marketingfornonprofits.org
  • My thanks also to Washington Women in Public Relations for inviting me to be part of a dynamic panel of presenters to discuss the ins and outs of communications, branding and PR.  It was a huge success--and lots of fun.

My Latest Speaking Schedule:

  • Washington Women in Public Relations, Washington, DC, April 1, 2010
  • NeighborWorks Training Institute, Phoenix, AZ, May 6-7, 2010
  • EEI one-day course, entitled "Rebranding the Federal Government--One Agency at a Time", VA; May 24, 2010, in Alexandria, VA (see Bits and Bytes above)
  • American Library Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC, June 26, 2010
  • NeighborWorks Training Institute, Philadelphia, PA, August 16-17 
  • Mid-Atlantic Network of Youth and Family Services (MANY) Mentoring Children of Prisoner Skill-Based Training Series, Kansas City, KS,  Aug. 19-20, 2010
  • Mid-Atlantic Network of Youth and Family Services (MANY) Mentoring Children of Prisoner Skill-Based Training Series, St. Paul, MN  Sept. 9-10, 2010 
  • Weinberg Fellowship Program, Sept. 13, Baltimore, MD Sept. 13, 2010 

 

What Clients Say: 

  • "We've all been to many meetings and events.  But for my organization, Larry's branding workshop was by far the most educational and fun!  In fact, months later attendees are still excited about the meeting, contacting me about how they are using what Larry taught to improve their organization's brand, both locally and at the state level with lawmakers.  If you are looking for cost-effective, creative ways to be seen and heard, call Larry."  Jodi Park, Executive Director, Texas Association of Centers for Independent Living
  • "What Larry Checco has to say about branding and raising your visibility is a message all non-profits and even for- profit enterprises should hear! My "aha"moment came when he had us think about "why anyone should care enough to support us?"   After hearing this, we were better able to rethink OUR story and why it needs to be heard!  I have been a fan of Larry's for years.  Finally seeing and hearing him speak in person last summer here in California was amazing!" Robin Hoklotubbe, Friends and Volunteer Services Coordinator, San Bernardino County Library, California

 

As always, I look forward to receiving your feedback, questions, success stories and branding challenges.  Also, if you are in need of a motivational speaker, trainer or branding consultant/coach, I invite you to contact me or log onto my website for more information.

In the meantime, good luck with your branding!

Larry 

Branding Bytes is a FREE quarterly e-newsletter courtesy of Larry Checco of Checco Communications (please refer below to our privacy policy and how to subscribe/unsubscribe).   Past issues are archived on my website (www.checcocomm.net).  Simply click Branding Bytes on the website homepage menu to access them.   NOTE:   Branding Bytes is copyrighted and may not be reprinted or reproduced without attributing Larry Checco of Checco Communications as its source and providing the website address above.  Thank you.   

CHECCO COMMUNICATIONS Larry Checco Principal Phone: (301)384-6007 Fax:     (301)384-6352

Email:  Larry.Checco@verizon.ne t                                 

Web:    www.checcocomm.net

 

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