According to Laura Ries, President of Ries & Ries based in Atlanta, GA, you can build a brand with a red nose.
“A red nose is the visual hammer for Red Nose Day, a campaign started in the U.K. and has now moved to America. The Red Nose Day fund is a program of Comic Relief, a non-profit that raises money for children living in poverty. Hundreds of charities do similar work, but most don’t become as well-known or raise as much money. The difference? A visual hammer that drives the brand into the mind. It might be a simple or silly thing like a pink ribbon, a yellow bracelet or a red nose. Three visuals that have built powerful, relatively-new non-profit giants.”
Ms. Ries makes 3 points that will help any non profit achieve celebrity status.
- Be focused: The best way to affect change is to focus on one issue or one disease or one disability. When you have a broad mission like the United Way, it is difficult to communicate what you do and it is hard to find one visual or slogan that can cover all that you do.
- Be specific: Most vision statements of charities are too broad. “To create a just world, free from poverty,” for example. What does that mean? How can you visualize that? You can’t. That is why the more-specific campaign for Comic Relief is so successful.
- Be first: Me-too campaigns don’t work. Instead of copying what has already been done (pink ribbons, yellow Livestrong bracelets, the ice-bucket challenge) and trying to do it better, find something you can be first in. Don’t use the same visual in a different color, create a new visual.