Owning Your Identity

Brand Identity.jpg

Buzzwords are everywhere today. Branding. Identity. Authenticity. You name it, we've all heard it. But at the root of all the latest on branding and identity...or our favorite, brand identity, is really a simple message. You need to own who you are.

But how do you know this? And where will I find this information? And what if we need to adapt?

Relax. Let's start with your roots and talk about your mission, vision and values. Those core beliefs that set you on this trajectory and created an organization designed to do good.

1. Mission Statement

Your mission statement is at the core of everything you do. It's a simple sentence that states the problem and solution. A mission statement should be your basic guide, prompting you to say yes or no as new opportunities come your way. If a partnership matches your mission statement - it's a yes. If not, it's a definite no. If you're not sure, then it's probably still a no. Staying true to your roots will help you grow and succeed in your mission. There is no need to get distracted by opportunities that aren't the right fit for your organization.

2. Vision Statement

This is where you get to dream big. You get to make bold statements about the problem at hand and how you would like to see it solved. There is no right or wrong answer. The bigger your dream, the bigger your growth potential. After all, you didn't get up one day and decide to do what everyone else was doing to try and solve a problem. Rather, you got up and started your own organization because you had a bold idea and a dream. Bravo! The world needs more dreamers and that is part of who you are.

3. Organizational Values

The third part of your core would be your values as an organization. There should be certain principles and beliefs you won't compromise on to reach your goal. The more you can define these, the more likely you are to grow.

In short, when you know who you are and own it, you are going to attract like minded people who will join your team and take action. The problem that many organizations face when defining themselves publicly, is that they try to please everyone. While we know this is impossible, it is easy to get caught up in likes and followers on social media. However, true success comes from the number of people who take action, not the number of people who like a post. 

And yes, we will admit that this approach can take longer than others to build an audience and create a following; but it is the organic growth that makes all the difference in the long run. Our advice, stay true to your mission, vision and values and you will find success.

Stefani Zimmerman Drake

Stefani has over a decade of experience working in the US government, international NGO space and with domestic + international nonprofits. Currently on the UNDP's Roster of Communication Experts in Subsaharan Africa + certified in Google Analytics, Stefani is an analytical thinker and thoughtful storyteller who works with nonprofits to define who they are, elevate their influence and broaden their impact through strategic communications. Stefani lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, twin girls and rescue dog.