Everything you need to know to measure your brand’s impact and create a comprehensive marketing plan
We see a lot of great organizations doing incredible work to make the world a better place. There are also great organizations poised to make a significant impact, but just don’t have the strategy and tools in place to do it.
That’s where a Brand Impact AssessmentTM comes in.
To be truly successful, organizations like yours need to be effective — not just in the work you do, but in how you communicate about your work and who you are. This guide will show you how we partner with nonprofits (and businesses) to help them effectively articulate their purpose and align their messaging so they can advance their mission.
Now, you might be thinking this is just another one-size-fits-all, templated formula. But it’s not! At Fervor, we customize every assessment to fit your organization’s needs and unique challenges, refining our research and recommendations accordingly and keeping your goals (and budget) in mind.
Whether you want a plan to keep you on your growth trajectory or need to establish a new strategy to make the impact you’ve always dreamed of, keep reading. We’re here to help.
Table of Contents:
- What is a Brand Impact Assessment?
- Benefits of measuring brand impact
- Our Brand Audit Process
- Phase 1: Discovery and Assessment
- Phase 2: Brand Strategy & Messaging Platform
- Phase 3: Ideal Advocates™
- Phase 4: Marketing Plan
- Cost of a Brand Impact Assessment
- What to look for in a brand audit and plan
- Choosing Fervor for your Brand Impact Assessment
What is a Brand Impact Assessment?
In short, a Brand Impact Assessment is the process of measuring the effectiveness of your brand and documenting a smart marketing plan to leverage it for growth. At Fervor, we can include everything (and the kitchen sink!), or assess pieces and parts of your organization and marketing efforts based on your end goals and objectives.
The process can include conversations and discussions, interviews and an historical timeline to better understand where you came from and where you’re going. Equally important is the process of analyzing data surrounding all of your digital and traditional marketing efforts.
After a thorough audit, a Brand Impact Assessment results in a comprehensive 12–18 month marketing and communications plan. The objective is to give your brand the best chance to reach more people and do more good in the world.
The Benefits of Measuring Brand Impact
Whether you’ve audited your brand before, have never measured the impact you’re making, or you land somewhere in between, there are lots of reasons to complete a Brand Impact Assessment. Can you identify with any of these?
- You’ve recently had a leadership change, merged with another organization, or redefined your strategic vision and need your messaging and marketing plan to ladder up to that new direction.
- Your organization is growing, but you need a plan to focus your efforts where they’ll best serve the future of the organization.
- You have a solid vision and a clear mission, but aren’t sure how to communicate it in a way that others feel and are compelled to take action with you.
- Your teams and volunteers are doing amazing work, but you just don’t have the bandwidth to leverage the good you’re doing in a way that shows donors the impact they’re making.
- Your organization has plateaued and you want to identify what’s working and what’s not so you can make the necessary adjustments for growth.
- You’re considering a rebrand and want to understand its implications and potential impact.
There are a range of benefits, too:
- Clear, measurable goals we all can chase down together
- Data and insights — not just opinions — to drive marketing strategy
- A well-rounded, comprehensive, and executable marketing plan
- A leadership team (and board) that’s on the same page, focused, and excited about the future
- A clear message that resonates with your audience and is easy for Ideal Advocates share with others
- Content and communication strategies and plans that target what your constituents need, want and are searching online for
- Thoughtful ways to launch and run campaigns, make changes, and implement tactics at the right time
- A dedicated marketing partner who can help you execute the plan
We could keep going, but the biggest benefit of all is that when the plan is implemented, it will result in growth. More people will know about who you are, what you do and how they can get involved. You’ll serve more people, and as we like to say at Fervor — do the most good possible!
A Proven Process for an In-depth Brand Impact Assessment
So what can you expect during a Brand Impact Assessment? To make sure we serve you well, we’ve set up our process in phases. Depending on the complexity of your needs, the whole process can take anywhere from 8–14 weeks, although most fall right at the 8-10 week mark. That may seem like a long time, but brand strategy is the foundation for everything you do when it comes to marketing and development. And having an effective marketing plan to get you the results you need is critical. We want to serve you well, so we make sure to go deep and do it right.
Here’s an overview of the phases of a Brand Impact Assessment. We’ll go deeper into some of these phases in the sections that follow.
Phase 1: Discovery & Assessment
This is where we get to know you, your organization, your target audiences, your goals and the things that are standing in your way of reaching them. We also do a brand audit so we have a clear picture of your current marketing landscape. It’s a deep dive, and we ask a lot of questions so we can get to the heart of, well, everything.
Phase 2: Ideal Advocate™ Personas
During our discovery with you, we’ll identify your primary target audiences. You’ll help us sketch out demographic information, character traits, needs, frustrations, and more. Then, we interview folks in your circle that fit those general characteristics. This lets us refine our profiles by hearing from real people involved with your organization.
Phase 3: Scorecard Audits
After the Discovery Day, our team focuses on assessing your current marketing efforts. We may request access to a variety of tools in order to evaluate email, social media, SEO, content (both online and in print), your website and paid media. With a clear understanding of current performance, we can set SMART marketing goals that align with your organizational goals and make the right marketing recommendations.
Phase 4: Messaging Platform
This is when all the information we’ve been collecting starts to come together. We take those things you need to say about your organization and translate them into messaging your target audience needs to hear in order to say yes to you. We craft a core brand narrative that gives you a holistic story to tell across all your marketing and communication channels. And as a guide for you and your marketing partner, we show you how your messaging platform can be implemented in everything you do. It ensures your brand message is being communicated clearly and consistently in your web copy, emails, social media, fundraising efforts, blogs, advertising, videos and more.
Phase 5: Marketing and Communications Plan
Now that we’ve determined who you’re talking to, what to say, and how to say it — how do we get that out into the marketplace? With a smart marketing plan. We start with a content strategy and lay out tactical ideas for every channel that makes sense for your organization. We include ongoing marketing and communications, as well as specialty ideas and campaign ideas. Then we put it together in a 12–18 month calendar so you know when to execute each tactic for maximum impact.
Phase 6: Comprehensive Presentation
After we’re done creating your brand strategy and marketing plan, we’ll hold a presentation to walk you and your team through all of it, and to take your initial questions. It’s a lot to take in, so we make sure you have a copy of the presentation so you and your team can discuss it. We’ll make adjustments as needed, and when you give the final approval, implementation can begin.
Sometimes an organization needs more than what the standard Brand Impact Assessment entails. We’re happy to talk with you about additional needs you might have, such as:
- Naming (including organizational name and/or program or product naming)
- Brand Architecture
- Visual Identity
- Competitive Analysis
- Market Research
A Thorough Discovery & Assessment
To get where you want to go, you need to understand where you are. That’s where the Discovery & Assessment phase comes in. It’s kind of like taking apart an existing puzzle and examining all the pieces. We can figure out which pieces need to stay, which need to go, and what new pieces need to be added. Once we know all of that, we can put those pieces together in a new way, creating a puzzle image that better represents your brand to the world.
Here’s what you can expect:
We’ll send you and select team members a survey before our big discovery meeting. We get input about your organization, your roles in it, current marketing, competitors, Ideal Advocates, and your organization’s needs and dreams for the future.
We evaluate your content, emails, social media, website, and paid media efforts. We give you grades on a number of key metrics so that we all have a clear picture of where your marketing efforts are working well, and where they need some help.
This is an all day, in-person session with our team and yours. (And yes, our team concurs that if you miss this day, you’ve missed half of your life!) We ask a LOT of questions, and we have some fun, too. Here’s an overview of what you can expect.
- State of the Union: You get to tell us about your organization — some history, where things are at now, what’s working, what’s not working, your pain points and your needs.
- Survey Discussion: We’ll dive into the survey you filled out, getting more insights and information to help complete the picture.
- Messaging & Goals Exercises: We’ll do some fun activities to get you thinking about messaging and what makes you truly unique. We’ll also ask you about specific growth goals you have — because our goal is to help you grow.
- Ideal Advocates: You’ll help us narrow down and figure out the top target audiences for your organization. That way we can focus marketing messaging to the right people.
When appropriate, we love to visit your site (or sites) in person, so we can see you and your team in action. It’s a great way to capture the spirit of what you do, talk to staff and constituents, and get a more personal perspective on what you do.
Crafting Brand Messaging that Resonates
What you say about your organization — and how you say it — is critical for everything you do. Messaging is one key element of your brand identity that helps people quickly understand the heart of your organization and why they should be a part of it, either as donors, volunteers, members, or consumers.
As part of a Brand Impact Assessment, we craft a messaging platform that has several elements that work together to give you a clear, compelling message that resonates with your target audience.
Elements of Your Brand Message
More than a vision statement (where you want to go) or a mission statement (how you want to get there), a purpose statement articulates why you do what you do. It’s the big, audacious “why” for getting up every day and investing in your organization.
This is how you want people to experience your organization; how you want them to feel when they interact with you.
These are the 3–4 things that make your organization truly unique. Those things that no one else can claim. We articulate them, then show you multiple ways to talk about those key differentiators.
Core Brand Narrative
This is the holistic story that every piece of marketing and communication should be adding up to. It combines your purpose, promise, and pillars and is filtered through the lens of what your Ideal Advocates need to hear in order to say yes to you. It gives you strategic language and creative voice to start telling a better story about your organization. It influences your brand’s visual identity, as well, because your look and feel should reflect your narrative, too.
Now that you’ve crafted effective messaging, you need a way to use it. Your story should intersect the stories of your ideal advocates. Knowing they won’t all start their journey at the same place, we use a Messaging Matrix to outline a particular messaging strategy that prioritizes the preferences of each ideal advocate. It helps us start conversations and align communication efforts across all teams.
How Would You Grade Your Current Messaging?
Take this quick evaluation quiz for your brand messaging and see how you do. Five little questions can tell you a lot.
Identifying and Understanding Ideal AdvocatesTM
Every successful marketing message, strategy, and tactic starts with answering the question: “Who’s it for?” Phase 2 is all about defining who your Ideal Advocates are using three common criteria:
- They have a personal connection with your organization.
- They have a shared experience.
- And they are prepared to share that experience with others.
We start by identifying common characteristics they might have, like “teachable, “action-oriented,” or “positive.” With those in mind along with your survey responses, we compile a list of possible Ideal Advocates.
Recognizing the Right Audiences to Target
One of the biggest misconceptions about marketing in the nonprofit sector is that going after everyone works. But it delivers poor results with underwhelmed donors and worn out volunteers and staff. Pruning the list with your business and marketing goals as a guide helps you to see who to invest your time and energy into.
Developing Ideal Advocate Profiles
Through detailed interviews with your Ideal Advocates, Fervor outlines a few critical data points, like:
- Demographics, — age bracket, role, education level and entry point into your organization
- Needs and frustrations — toughest pain points and solutions that solve them
- Communication preferences — through phone, text, face-to-face on zoom or in-person
- Social channels — preferred accounts and how they use them
- Media outlets — including publications, podcasts and other sources that indicate how they think and where they glean information from
Then, we compile all of that into Ideal Advocate Boards, fitting all of the pieces and parts of who they are into a story that demonstrates what your brand means to them.
The Ideal Advocate Journey
Few people connect with organizations immediately as raving fans. It takes a process to develop relationships, earn their trust, and create experiences they’re excited to share about. The Ideal Advocate Journey is a strategy tool with many benefits. It outlines best tactics and channels to share your messages, guiding Ideal Advocates to engage more deeply with your brand until they are loyal partners of your cause. It can also be used in tandem with the Messaging Matrix and Ideal Advocate profiles to plan specific content for each ideal advocate depending on which stage of the journey they are in.
A Smart, Results-Minded Marketing Plan
A solid brand strategy won’t do anything for you until you put it out into the world in the right ways. (Pro tip: an “awareness campaign” isn’t enough.) A well-thought out marketing plan is a wise investment that gets your message out there, keeps it out there (even in a time of crisis), and helps you achieve your goals. So what are the elements of a smart marketing plan?
Your marketing team needs to know what they’re chasing after. Increased revenue? New members? Increased engagement from existing customers? More subscriptions? Whatever will help your organization grow needs to be defined, because that’s what all marketing efforts should point to. As you read through your marketing plan, each tactic should be tied to a specific business goal.
As already mentioned, your content strategy is the framework for ensuring your brand message is being communicated clearly and consistently in all your inbound advertising efforts. Whatever content you create should be geared toward what your Ideal Advocates need and want from you.
There are tried and true, foundational tactics you should be using on a regular basis to communicate with your Ideal Advocates and prospects. They need to have helpful, interesting information delivered to them consistently. This builds up trust, increases your value to them, and keeps you in their minds so that when they’re ready to buy, give, or volunteer, they go to you first.
Ongoing communications is a broad category, and they can be a challenge, so make sure you choose tactics that will resonate with your audiences. These could include emails, blogs, social media posts, or direct mail.
Not every organization needs to make a paid media investment, but there are reasons to consider it.
- You’re looking to expand your reach to a new region or nationally.
- You need to target certain areas or groups of people with your messaging.
- You want to drive more leads to your website to learn about your services.
- Your organization seems to be overlooked in a Google search.
Paid search, display ads, retargeting ads, paid social media ads, and YouTube campaigns are some of the ways you can get more eyes on your message and start to drive more relevant traffic to your website. Your marketing partner can help you make the choices that will give you the most bang for your paid media buck.
Your website should work hard for you. If it’s not, your marketing plan will include recommendations for changes. It may be time for a whole new site. Or you might need to invest in updating things like:
- Add SEO value through technical updates, on-page copy and off-page efforts to improve your organic traffic
- Incorporating new messaging into the website copy
- New photos
- Adding or updating videos
- Page structure changes to make the user experience better
- Adding or rewriting calls to action for better conversion
Specialty Communications & Campaigns
Your Ideal Advocates are unique, and so are you. So there are times when you need a unique approach in addition to the foundational tactics. A smart marketing plan will include tailored ideas designed to meet your audience where they’re at — and increase the likelihood of you meeting your goals.
Global Marketing Calendar
Your marketing plan should include a calendar that clearly lays out when each tactic should be implemented. Whether you execute all the work, your marketing partner does, or you collaborate and share the load, a clear calendar will help everyone keep things on track and make sure the right messages get sent through the right channels at the right time.
The Cost of a Brand Impact Assessment
Here are a few questions we get about this.
What influences the cost of a Brand Impact Assessment?
The biggest influences are your needs, and what it takes to meet them. You may only need new messaging and target audiences. You may need those things plus a marketing plan. In talking with you, we may determine you need some additional market research, a new name, new brand architecture, or a new visual identity. There are standard elements of a Brand Impact Assessment, but your custom needs will ultimately determine the cost.
What impact will a Brand Impact Assessment have on our bottom line?
It’s important to understand that your brand strategy and marketing plan are part of a long-term investment. It takes time to lay the right foundation; to bring in and nurture new leads; to overcome consumer hurdles and build trust. There are tactics and campaigns that can supply some quick, short-term wins. And there are tactics that just take time to come to fruition. Our goal is to set you up for long-term success so that your organization will be around for a long time.
Why is the agency price worth it?
Figuring out how to talk about your organization in ways that make a difference to your bottom line is not easy. But a good agency can make it look a lot easier than it is. They have experience and expertise in brand development and marketing strategy. There’s a team of professionals in different disciplines working together on your behalf. They can be objective partners for you, helping you see beyond the proverbial trees to take in the whole forest — and what’s beyond the forest, too. It’s a long-term investment that can make your job easier, and your organization more successful.
Preparing for a Brand Impact Assessment
There are a few things you’ll want to know before you start. Executing a Brand Impact Assessment properly requires information, insights and history that can guide a trusted marketing team in their discovery and recommendations.
A good marketing partner knows where to look for data and how to analyze it. Giving them access to tools and information is paramount to smart recommendations that will get results, including tools like:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- CRM and email automation applications
- Stakeholders — Pulling in key decision makers on your team who can give valuable input is critical to the success of the entire project. Select them carefully, and communicate expectations upfront.
- Business Goals — What are your business goals for this year? Next year? And what does your progress look like?
- Marketing Plan — What does your current plan look like? What channels are you using/not using? And how are you using them? What seems to be working and what is not?
- Ideal AdvocatesTM — Think about your best advocates. Consider their biggest problems and needs, how they think, and how they originally connected with you.
- Your Expectations — Understanding what success looks like for you, for your teams and those you serve ahead of time gives marketing consultants a target to aim for.
Hiring the Right Marketing Agency
It’s important to know what to look for when selecting a marketing agency that’s right for you. When you’re considering who to allow behind the scenes and “in your business” in order to complete a proper brand audit, you need a partner you can trust. Someone who will be honest with you. Tell you the truth, keep your best interests in mind, and be in it for the long haul.
Here are a few questions to ask of them, and of yourself:
- Can you share examples of brand auditing and marketing plan projects you’ve completed before?
- How will you protect our data while working with us?
- What other organizations like us have you helped before? Do you work with our competitors?
- What are your core values? Will we be a good cultural fit?
- What is the onboarding process like?
- How and when will we receive communication about our project?
- How long does the process take?
- Upon completion of our project, what will we actually own?
- Will your team be able to help us execute the marketing plan?
For organizations looking to rebrand, you’ll also want to ask:
- What rebrand projects have you completed before?
- What were the results of past projects?
- What level of research goes into a rebrand project?
Why Choose Fervor as Your Marketing Partner
We understand how important it is for you to steward your nonprofit marketing dollars well. That’s why we exist! To bring energy and a spirit of optimism to your heartfelt mission of changing lives and communities for the better — and doing it through the marketing lens. Whether you’re a faith-based organization or ministry, or a nonprofit serving locally or nationwide, our agency is built with your needs in mind.
Holistic Marketing Support for Nonprofits
There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. alone. We’re here to help you cut through the noise to capture hearts, minds — and dollars. Our holistic marketing support goes deep and comes from decades of experience, freeing you to focus on the important work you do.
With a Faith-Driven Focus
Being “salt and light” isn’t always easy. We’re here to help you create messaging that sounds and feels like the faith-based organization you are and say it in a way that resonates with your audience. With smart strategies that move you forward and effective marketing plans that get results, you can truly be salt and light, and do the most good possible.
Consulting for Healthy Culture Inside & Out
Running a nonprofit isn’t easy, and it can get messy. Our consulting team can provide an objective point of view that helps you align your vision, navigate organizational structure, communicate internally, and foster culture so you can create a healthy environment for growth.
Smarter Marketing Plans that Work
Discovering who you are as an organization and what makes you truly different is foundational to any results-driven marketing plan. We work to understand what your goals are, who your best target audiences are, and what they need to be convinced to choose you. It’s the smartest way to invest your time and budget so you get a marketing plans that actually works.
Secure Work to Protect Your Data
With our SOC 2 compliance status, our clients have peace of mind regarding the safety and security of their digital properties and data. We have high-level processes & tools in place, putting us ahead of the curve as a marketing agency.
We believe our gifts should be used to serve others. So we love that we get to bring our skills, experience and heart to work every day, serving our clients so they can do the most good possible. Our team is so committed to walking that walk that our goal is to create $1 billion in growth for our clients. If you want to be a part of that growth, learn more about our Brand Impact Assessment and strategy services. Then, let’s talk!