Scott Allen CreatiVLOG Ep 11 | Get Your Messaging Right

"How are we alike?"

One of the first things we do in marketing is look at all the outward demographics – age, race, gender, income, geography, etc. We can identify what makes us different from each other and we try to understand how those differences can help us market to other people better.

But, what if we asked the question, “How are we alike?” when we begin the marketing process? How would that shift your messaging or appeal?

David Ogilvy once said, “Don’t count the people you reach, reach the people who count.” 

We are attracted to people with similar interests, similar passions, similar values. Those are the people who count and who will support your cause.

How do you figure out the right messaging for your nonprofit? Here are three insights to help you find the right message:

#1 Attract with your belief

David Ogilvy also said (can you tell we like this guy?), “Customers don’t buy products, they buy product benefits.”

Nonprofits have a tendency to tell people what they do, but fail to show how it benefits those they serve.

We desire nonprofits to lead their brand with a belief statement that attracts others who share similar beliefs. When it is clear, it will cause people to say, “Yes, I want to be a part of that!”

charity: water believes “everyone deserves clean water.”

The benefit: They don’t just make clean water, they bring health to people living with dirty water.

Feeding America believes in “creating a future where no one is hungry.”

The benefit: They don’t just provide food, they bring dignity to people with food insecurity.

Habitat for Humanity believes “everyone deserves a decent place to live.”

The benefit: They don’t just build homes, they provide self-reliance and a sense of community for those without one.

These beliefs align supporters who feel a connection to the reason the organization exists.

#2 Empathize with your hero

Hollywood writers understand the importance of the hero’s journey – the story arc that makes great blockbusters. Without it, the movie will most likely flop.

The Hero’s Journey is this:
We identify with a human in their journey as they face a struggle. They are even reluctant to face this struggle because it seems so overwhelming. But, they take a step toward that challenge and by doing so, we begin to see the internal transformation that happens within the hero. 

We all can identify with that. We all have had struggles or experienced challenges and heartaches throughout our lives. We all aspire to see something better happen in this world.

The hero faces challenges that they can’t overcome on their own. They need someone to come alongside them with resources, insight, wisdom, and guidance to help them win the day when they fight that battle.

So what does this mean for your organization?
Your client is the hero.
Your nonprofit is the guide.

Your nonprofit helps the hero win the day, but don’t be confused and think it is the other way around.

Tell the narrative of the hero’s journey – the center of your story is the people you serve.


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