Building a Brand, and Goal Setting
Social Enterprise Marketing Campaigns Part 1
As you start out with your marketing, you need to have a good grasp of what your brand is. You probably have an idea of what your brand is, whether it is written down or not. Having an explicitly written brand is essential. By having written brand values and characteristics all of your marketing and communications efforts will be connected.
If you don’t know what your brand is, think about your brand as a person. One individual. What is their personality? How do they present themselves? Who would they spend time with? Do they speak like a California surfer dude, or like a kindergarten teacher? What does this person value?
Let’s stick on that topic for a moment. What does the person representing your brand value? Do they value environmentalism? Convenience? Education? Status? Freedom? Safety?
Through exploring this fictional person’s values, you should be able to find some clues as to what your brand’s values are.
Think about this for a while. Write out the top 3-5 values that describe the personification of your brand. These should align with the values of your brand. If they don’t line up, then you need to find out why. It might be that your business has been operating with a set of incentives that don’t encourage the values that are present in your personification. You might need to change your processes, your reporting structure, or how you present what you sell.
The most important aspect for a social enterprise brand is to make sure that their presentation lines up with their internal values. The extra goals that define your social enterprise make it different than business as usual, and your brand should reflect that.
Your brand will also change how you present yourself. You need to make sure that the marketing that your business is doing properly represents your brand. This relates back to your logo, your tagline, your website, the tone you use on social media, what kind of products you create, what kind of events you sponsor, and your customer service. Everything part of your organization’s processes should relate back to your brand.
We are starting with a very small view of the brand. Eventually, your brand becomes more than the marketing that you create, and it becomes the perception that people have about your company. For now, it is enough to think of the brand as the collection of values that your enterprise holds.
The rest of the articles in this series will be centered around how to take these values and turn them into goals, strategies and tactics that align with your brand. By the end of the series you will be able to build a marketing campaign that works with your brand.
Goals come in two distinct types. There are bounded goals and unlimited goals. Bounded goals can be completed once and then they’re done. Unlimited goals as the name suggests, can be continued forever. Bounded goals are goals such as number of customers, revenue targets or project milestones. Unlimited goals are often percentage changes, such as 10% more customers, 15% higher revenues each quarter or 2 product improvement experiments per year.
Here’s an example. Imagine a child who wants to bike to grandma’s house. That is a bounded goal with a definite end point. There is a clear ending. Likely, there is a new goal at some point later in the sequence of events where the child makes a goal to bike back home. Again, this would be a bounded goal.
If the child makes a goal to get to grandma’s house faster than last time, this is an unbounded goal. Theoretically, there is no limit to the amount of faster that the child can be. As the child improves, the speed at which they bike increases, but the goal is constant. Just get faster.
When you are thinking about your business and your brand, what kinds of goals you set are important. A small local farmers market will be setting different kinds of goals than a restaurant that also teaches cooking classes with 4 locations.
For example, a local farmers market is much more likely to want to set bounded goals such as increase number of vendors, and raise revenue to a specific value. They will want to set unlimited goals like educate more people about local food options and provide better service to vendors.
The restaurant will have goals such as: teach X% more people, earn XX% repeat customers, increase revenue by 7% annually, earn higher review scores, ect.
The restaurant with multiple locations is going to be less interested in bounded goals, as they have a different focus. They will still use bounded goals to make their unlimited goals be more grounded, but they are based on unlimited goals. For example: increase revenue by 7% annually would simply be reflected as bounded annual or quarterly revenue goals adjusted based on past performance.
Because the restaurant already has multiple locations, they operate in a different context and this will change how they set goals. If each of the locations are operating near capacity, they would have an easier time opening a 5th location to continue to achieve their revenue goals.
As a part of your goal setting, you must recognize what kind of context your social enterprise inhabits, and where you want it to be in the future. If your social enterprise is founded on hyper-local initiatives, you might want to avoid unlimited growth goals, because it will push you to grow beyond your local focus.
It is because of these tensions that your goals must be informed by your values. Your goals will grow to define your company, so knowing your values is essential before goal setting.
Do not include marketing numbers as part of your goals. Marketing is a means to an end, it is not the goal in and of itself. Most likely, your company does not exist to get media attention, or Twitter followers or Facebook likes. Those media and marketing numbers should further your goals, not be the goals in and of themselves.
We will go into how you decide what numbers and measurements are best to represent these goals in the next session. For now, decide what your overall goals are. I’ve provided some prompting questions to guide you as you think of goals.
Write down 3 goals that align with your brand and would help your social enterprise succeed. These goals play a part in explicitly defining what success means for you enterprise.
Do you need to prioritize membership? Do you need to be posting a profit? Do you need to improve your internal operations? Do you need to grow your leaders? Do you need to improve your service? Do you need more products? Do you need more variety? Do you need to help more people? Do you need to make partnerships within the community? Do you need to measure your impact? Do you need to reduce costs? Do you need to create more jobs? Do you need to reduce environmental impact?
Brainstorm with your team and supporters to come up with as many goals as you need, then pick the ones that are best for your current situation and your long term plans.
As you set the goals and define your brand, keep it simple.