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Around six years ago, when I had just moved to London, I found myself in my first client/agency meeting. Because I felt out of my depth, my aim was to keep quiet. Shortly after the meeting began, someone from the agency asked, “what does ooooooh” mean. This was followed by silence. I didn’t know what ooooooh meant. You could tell by reading the room there was something funny about this, but at least two people weren’t privy to the joke.

Anyone working in brand management and marketing will tell you it’s hard but I often think that we make life a lot harder for ourselves with the jargon we use.

One of my biggest challenges when working in charities is to explain what I’m aspiring to do. For example, I’ve been tasked with developing a case for support in my current role. This involves looking at the charity’s brand proposition and positioning strategy to create a creative platform. All of which is jargon to most people.

To try and make life easier, I’ve been creating a glossary. Every time I see a great definition from the likes of Riston, Sinket, Trott and others, I save it and try to contextualise it for charities. I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me…

What is a case for support?

A case for support is a donor message. It’s an emotionally compelling story that tells different audiences why they should invest in your work. It will outline the problems you exist to address, what you aim to do to solve them, and it will give a clear role for the supporter to help you. Source: Joe Garecht fundraising

What is a proposition?

At the heart of a great marketing story is usually a “single-minded proposition”, or SMP. The SMP sums up the most important thing you can say about the brand or product. It ignites creative briefs and serves as a rally cry for marketing communication. It’s not a slogan or a tagline.

Take Dove as an example: their promise to consumers is that no other products will hydrate skin better than theirs. From their products to their campaigns, their focus is on helping people feel comfortable in their own skin. Their incredibly successful Real Beauty marketing campaign has brought this proposition to life.

Further reading:

What do we mean by brand?

Historically, brands were created to differentiate products and services from one another, but the relationship we have with brands has evolved over time, making brands harder to define.

My personal favourite definition (and there are many) is that a brand refers to people’s perception of that product or service. What people think and feel about a brand is unique to them. This perception is built over many years and sometimes even a lifetime. Another definition that I’m fond of comes from McKinsey, who say that brands are beacons of trust. The more choices consumers have, the more important these beacons become.

What is a business strategy?

A business strategy details your vision, mission and long-term objectives and how it will reach those objectives.

What is a brand strategy?

A brand strategy helps express and bring to life the business strategy. For example, if your main business objectives were to grow your supporter base with younger donors, you would need to update parts of your visual identity and tone of voice to appeal to them.

What is a marketing strategy?

A marketing strategy outlines how you intend to promote yourself and grow.

Important note: All three strategies must consider market trends to be viable in the long run
Source: Brand Matters

What do we mean by positioning?

We operate in a very competitive market where hundreds, if not thousands of organisations are vying for people’s attention and support. By defining a position in the market, you are making a stand on a particular issue, theme, or way of working. Doing this creates a “position” in a prospective supporter’s mind-one that will help them decide whether to support you over another organisation. Think of it as a competitive edge. For example, when choosing a brand of chocolate, someone may choose Tony’s Chocolonely over Cadbury’s due to its ambition to make chocolate 100% slave free.

What do we mean by marketing?

By studying the marketplace, finding out what supporters want, and meeting those needs, organisations can grow their market share and increase revenue. Marketing campaigns (advertising) is just one small part of the overall marketing mix. Take Scope as an example. Scope needed to diversify and attract new regular givers. Their research revealed that mums wanted to build resilience in their children and needed more magic moments together. So they created ‘The Mindful Monsters’ subscription pack to meet that need and tap into the growth of mindfulness. The Mindful Monsters has helped Scope engage over 2m new supporters and has reduced their cost per new regular donor by 75%. They’re even in talks with two major entertainment companies to develop and distribute a television show based on its characters.

What is a marketing campaign?

Marketing campaigns are an organised effort to promote a specific organisations goal by raising awareness, challenging preconceptions, or promoting a product or service. Marketing campaigns will typically involve a mix of different media and channels like TV, print, email, and radio. Great campaigns will follow a consistent theme and promote one single idea or message through a slogan over several years. KitKat’s campaign to encourage people to ‘take a break’ is an example that recently celebrated its 85th anniversary!

What is a creative platform?

A creative platform is essentially a ‘golden thread’, showing how a campaign idea can be stretched across different audiences and channels. A single creative approach across campaigns ensures your marketing activity tells a consistent message and works together to create a bigger impact.

What is a segmentation?

Most charities wouldn’t be where they are today without the help of their supporters. Charities need them to build a better tomorrow which is why understanding them better and learning about the relationship they want with you is important. This understanding helps charities make the most of their resources.

There are many different types of segmentation, but each type aims to divide a target market into different categories. You could just use demographics to do this, but most market research agencies explain that this approach would put Prince Charles and Mick Jagger in the same category. Instead, a segmentation based on attitudes and values can help you to tailor messages, plan fundraising activities and ultimately strengthen and grow the long-term loyalty of supporters.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

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