Branding as an Organization and an Individual

Branding. It’s a word we hear very often, but how do we really know what it means? Branding is often thought of as what images, colors or sayings come to mind when you think about a company or a person. Consistency and repetition are both imperative for successful branding.

Consistency

This is the most important part of branding. No one will remember you or your brand if your logo, your image, your colors, your website, etc. are going in different directions and nothing is similar.

To keep all Chapters consistent with PRSSA National, there are Branding Identity Guidelines. These guidelines explain the instructions on PRSSA logo usage for Chapter logos, business cards, letterhead and other communication materials.

Organizations become famous by using consistent, repetitive branding.

We also have the PRSSA Style Guide to reference PRSSA writing standards to understand what PRSSA titles and items are capitalized and more. For example, did you know Chapter is always capitalized? Did you know we are not a club, but an organization or a Society?

Repetition

With consistency comes repetition. It’s important for everyone to be on the same page and have the same look when branding as an organization or company. PRSSA National, for example, uses the same PRSSA logo and fonts on all social media platforms and websites, as well as all news releases and events.

Repetition and consistency make your brand easier to identify and make it easier for people to remember where you stand. For PRSSA, this is important because we are the largest pre-professional organization in the world for students interested in public relations and communications. Consistent branding helps all of us to be recognized as that.

PRSSA National materials typically use navy blue, black and white colors. While many universities have different colors and Chapters want their logo to reflect their university, our guidelines for Chapter logos stresses the importance of these logos being as close to the National logo as possible. Keep it professional, simple and clean!

If you have any questions about your Chapter logo, about the Style Guide or National branding standards questions, please feel free to contact me at any time.

How has your Chapter adhered to National branding standards while still displaying your own university pride?  If you have created or plan to create business cards, fliers and/or T-shirts for the PRSSA 2011 National Conference, how are you working PRSSA’s branding guidelines into your materials?

This is a guest post from Vice President of Public Relations Lauren Gray.

2 thoughts on “Branding as an Organization and an Individual

    • Author gravatar

      My most stark thought is in regards to: “Repetition and consistency make your brand easier to identify and make it easier for people to remember where you stand”. I agree that repetition and consistency create a strong brand and are largely successful for creating memory retension in target audiences. But as for what a brand stands for the audience is largely left clueless. How many people know of Google’s “Do no evil” philosophy? Sure they know the brand, and sure virtually all sectors of the professional world are relying on Google to get work done, but this has little to do with what Google stands for. Branding is in fact a quick route to losing all sense of what your company stands for as the company stands out but the ideology doesn’t.

      In Athens, GA, where I live, we have bumper stickers that say “Seriously… y’all still litter?” made by Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful. Is this poor branding? Their logo is consistent and repetitive around town but their adverts bolster what they stand for, not their brand. And to be honest when brand names are more recognizable to children than trees, fruits, and animals — there’s a real danger in overbranding. This is not a part of your analysis, either.

      But I don’t want to wholly critique your argument. Where I work, a nonprofit, could benefit from the lessons of consistency and repetition, particularly as we try to reach out of our niche and into a broader sphere. I just want to advise caution in these matters, and a critical perspective on what to brand, to whom, and how often.

    • Author gravatar

      Hi Matthew,

      Thank you for your comment! Repetition, consistency and *clarity* can go a long way for any brand or nonprofit. A lot of brands have a tagline and different philosophies they might not have on every single thing they publish or promote.

      I disagree that branding is a route to losing a sense of what your company is. Branding can help clarify what your company stands for, what your company means and what other brands are associated with your company. It’s clarity. It is also up to the individual company to promote their taglines and ideologies, and most companies chose not to or might emphasize that later after they have better recognition.

      For this article, we were talking about better recognition of brands, particularly PRSSA in general, because we have PRSSA National and then about 300 Chapters across the U.S. who also represent PRSSA. It’s important for all of us to have the same logo and message as a pre-professional Society.

      -Lauren Gray, vice president of public relations

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