Marketing and Your Community Group - Marketing Your Image
Marketing and Your Community Group - Marketing Your Image
For many not for profit organisations and community groups, being able
to develop and then promote a good image is vital.
In fact, a good, strong image can be one of the most important
"currencies" a community group or not-for-profit can possess – and can
make a lot of difference when it comes to gaining support, attracting
people's help or influencing public opinion.
It also goes a long way towards increasing the public's recognition of
your organisation; what it stands for and what it does. Think about
your reaction when you see the Salvation Army Shield or the Red Cross.
Why you should market your image
Some reasons you should market your image:
- Brings public perception of your group in line with what you want it to be.
- Through marketing, the messages linked to your image are put
out into the public arena.
- And because those messages are what you want to share with the public, a well established image helps get the public to align their view of your group with yours.
- It clarifies your goals and
gives your supporters, volunteers and stakeholders expectations and direction.
- If your image is marketed widely, those who come into contact
with your group will have certain expectations and give those linked to your group something to aim for - both to meet public expectations and to fulfil the image being marketed to the public.
- It can help unify disparate parts of your activities or messages.
- Being able to use your image as the basis for elements of your
marketing can help you "glue" different parts of your activities
- For example, if your group's image is one of working towards cleaning, protecting and beautifying the local waterway, then
that image can provide a focus to guide your volunteer activities,
lobbying work, fundraising events, etc.
- It increases recognition and differentiates your group from similar organisations.
- It creates a kind of "shorthand for what you stand for.
For example, if your cricket club's image centres on
encouraging emerging or young cricket talent, marketing that image
- Your club's name become better known to the public,
- Your club's image then becomes associated with your club
itself. A type of "shorthand relationship" is produced between club
and image – "Bloggsville Cricket Club, aren't they the ones with the
real good junior cricket program?"
- This sort of relationship between club and image can be
further strengthened through branding.
Images and branding – good and bad
Marketing your image is, in many ways, related to the concept of
branding. For more information on branding, refer to the help sheets
Branding Your Community Group, part 1 and part 2, available at the Media & Marketing Centre.
Branding is designed to set your group
and its activities and services apart from similar groups, as well as
establishing an image of the organisation in the mind of donors,
clients, constituents, volunteers, and others.
The most common forms of branding are logos or catchphrases -the
"golden arches logo" (McDonalds), the "panda logo" (World Wildlife Fund
for Nature) or the "just do it" slogan (Nike).
With that branding also comes an almost unconscious link between
company name/logo/slogan and its image.
This link can be hugely beneficial for an organisation. As an
example: the public instantly associate the panda logo with the WWF,
and then the WWF with its work in the protection and conservation of
wildlife. Successful branding means the WWF doesn't have to spend time
explaining what it does - people who see the panda logo know what it
However, this branding can also create unwanted associations - for
example, McDonalds' golden arches are often associated with stories
about junk food and obesity, while Nike's slogan and "swoosh" symbol
have become a trademark for controversy by some, over the issue of
sweatshop labour to manufacture goods.
How to market your image
The first step to marketing your image is to ensure you have an image
If your group doesn't have a public image, then the first step is to
develop one as part of wider marketing strategy. For information
on this, refer to the help sheetsDeveloping a
Marketing Plan – Starting Out, and Developing a Marketing Plan – Eight
Steps, both available at the Media & Marketing Centre
Once you have an image to market,
there are a number of ways this can be done:
- Have a central message, and
- Develop a statement - a paragraph or a couple of sentences that
explain what you do, what you aim for and how your group tries to
achieve it. This will help clarify what you want your image to be.
- Make sure everyone linked to
your organisation are familiar with your image (and the messages that
go along with it), and are willing and able to promote it.
- If your supporters, volunteers and others working for your
organisation embody your group's image it will, in effect, be marketed
each time a contact is made with anyone involved with your group.
- Have any logos or slogans link
in with the image you wish to spread.
- In the example of the cricket club that encourages emerging or
young cricket talent, its logo and catchphrase should also fit with its
- That could be done using a logo featuring a younger cricketer
or with a slogan like "Home of the best young cricketers in…"
- Make sure you do not use third parties' logos without the relevant third party's written permission.
- Get involved in activities that
are compatible with your image.
- When something is happening in your community or sector that
fits with the image you want your group to project, you need to get
- This helps market your group and the image you want it to
reflect within the community.
- For example - the cricket club we mentioned earlier should
make sure it's involved in any kanga or junior cricket programs, and
any cricket clinics, camps, coaching or training courses that might be
- Your group should try to avoid commenting on issues or taking
part in activities that are completely unrelated to what you do or the
image you want to have in the public eye.
- The cricket club making remarks on the state of federal
politics is an example of commenting on issues unrelated to its
activities or the image it is working to develop.
- Speak out on things that concern
you and relate back to your image.
- If an issue directly relates to your group or organisation (for
example, a proposed law change or decision being made by a government
authority) you should be ready and willing to express an opinion on it.
- Commenting on relevant issues helps market your image.
Being able to publicly highlight your group's position or opinion on
issues raises your profile and helps portray a strong image to the
- Using the cricket club again as an example, it should be
willing to speak out if there was a major rule change mooted, or if
there are problems with the facilities it uses.
- Developing a viewpoint on an issue and then commenting on it
can be a part of your group's media strategy. For more information,
refer to the Media - Preparing a Winning Strategy section of the Media & Marketing Centre.
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