We love the nonprofits we get to work with! Honestly, thinking of each nonprofit as a living being with its own heart, brain, and personality – that’s what enables us to encourage character and spark meaningful growth at the right times. We celebrate when nonprofits are just starting to walk or run, and assist founders who are ready to pick out new clothes after a growth spurt or new season of life. If you’ve been running your nonprofit for a while, you’ve most likely experienced the many painful and euphoric stages of change that come with success. Sometimes you’re tough on your organization and sometimes you just bask in the glow of a proud parental moment.
Personally, my husband and I don’t have our own children, but I’m the proud auntie to many kiddos both inside and outside of our family circle. It is such a joy to watch these kiddos grow up and experience the opportunities and challenges that come with every new stage of life – much like the life cycle of a brand.
When I think about nonprofits as creatures with their own quirks, personalities and potential, I can’t help but draw a parallel between the life cycles of humanhood with those of your brand. We’ve been getting quite a few questions recently about recognizing when it’s the right time to evolve your brand personality. The best answer? Your brand identity will change several times over the life cycle of your nonprofit. But if you do it well, your brand gets better with age, like a fine wine.
Here are the main stages of a brand’s life cycle along with the best times to evolve, taking advantage of natural seasons of change and growth. Keep in mind this cycle isn’t always linear; some brands will flow through many of these growth cycles several times as they adapt and evolve. Though the timeframe isn’t as fixed as it is with human development, this metaphor can be a great tool for recognizing where your brand is at – and when it should be encouraged to grow.
At its best, your nonprofit’s brand identity just gets better with age instead of undergoing tiresome reinventions every decade. No one likes to look back at old high school years only to regret their “emo” phase or a trendy – but fleeting – hairstyle. If you’re staying true to your vision and mission, let those foundational principles guide your brand identity over time and fight for your heart to shine through.
So, what stage of this life cycle is your nonprofit in?